Apr 082008
Authors: Kayla Huddleston

The Muslim Student Association set up an information table in the Lory Student Center Tuesday to give students a forum to ask questions about the female Islamic experience, which MSA leaders say is largely misrepresented in the media.

This booth focused on discouraging common stereotypes involving Muslim women, including oppression and being forced to stay in the home.

The Hijab, a headscarf that Islamic women are required to wear by their faith, is a representation of modesty and protection. Women who wear the headscarf are respected and viewed for intellect and education instead of physical appearance, said Salih Abdul-Mateen, who organized the event.

Too often, the public doesn’t understand Islamic women and “don’t go deeper into the circumstances of where she is living or the culture she’s living in,” Mateen said. “The truth is women are encouraged to earn and own their own property.”

The MSA conducted surveys to learn about stereotypes and beliefs the CSU community has on the war and the Muslim faith.

“[We want] to learn what people think about our religion, what they are confused or fearful about are the stereotypes and common misconceptions people harbor,” said Zaki Safar, the president of MSA. “[We want] to use it to dispel any stereotypes and combat misconceptions.”

Several years ago, a discriminatory comment was made in the Morgan Library towards two Muslim women. The incident, along with other similar situations since, has prompted MSA to work towards dispelling common stereotypes towards Islam.

“Ever since we had the incident on campus we have taken the opportunity to educate the CSU community and the Fort Collins community,” said Meena Oriakhel, senior MSA member. “We purchased the [printed] materials and posters to provide a visual for people.”

Final efforts this semester include a free showing of the animated movie “Muhammad,” which will take place in the LSC Theater on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

The film is being shown in response to the Dutch movie “Fitna”, a film portraying Islam in a negative light when it was shown in Holland theatres.

“It goes to paint a false picture of the Islamic faith,” Safar said. “The movie is supposed to cover the correct image about Prophet Muhammad.”

Through the booths and the film, Safar and the MSA hope to encourage diversity at CSU and in the Fort Collins community.

“We have been trying to demolish barriers people create between themselves and what they lack knowledge about,” Safar said.

Staff writer Kayla Huddleston can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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