McSA shares Islam with NU

Susan Du

Islam Awareness Week 2011, “Uniting for Action: Faith and Justice through the Prophetic Example,” began Monday with a fireside led by Dr. Kamran Riaz on the life of Muhammad and the legacy he left modern Muslims on issues of social morality.

“Being a Muslim is not just about praying five times a day or fasting for a month. Rather, secular things like social justice are a means for earning the love of Allah,” Riaz said. “This is a notion which may seem strange to people when Islam tells you to love God for the sake of God.”

Riaz is a resident at the oncology department at Northwestern. His speech, titled “Living the Legacy: Social Justice in the Time of the Prophet,” was an introductory explanation of the origins of Islamic morality. It also covered basic principles of the religion, like Muslim beliefs and the renewed interest in Muhammad as both a religious and secular figure.

“Whether a person’s opinion of the Prophet is one of praise or of disparagement, the fact remains that there is a great interest in who he is and how he influenced the Arabic world so deeply,” Riaz said.

About 40 people attended the fireside, which was held at Ayers College of Commerce and Industry, 2324 Campus Drive. Nazihah Adil, executive vice president of Muslim-cultural Students Association, said judging from past years, there is usually a good mix of Muslim and non-Muslim students at Islamic Awareness Week events.

“Usually our events throughout the year are catered toward the Muslim community,” Adil said. “Islamic Awareness Week is when we take the opportunity to reach out to the broader NU community.”

McSA promoted Monday’s fireside at booths at the Rock and Norris University Center as well as through Facebook. The CCI listserv also alerted all residents to Riaz’s visit.

McCormick freshman and CCI resident Dan Charlessaid a mixture of curiosity, convenience and boredom with his dorm room led him to the fireside. CCI also awarded points to its residents for attending the fireside, but Charles said the incentive had no influence on him.

“All I knew about this event is that it’s Islam awareness, and I’m curious to see what they have to say,” Charles said. “Also, my grandfather was Islamic, so it’s just a topic I’m fascinated with.”

The fireside by Riaz is the first in a week of events sponsored by McSA to bring awareness to Islamic students on campus. Other scheduled events include dramatic productions, lectures about environmental sustainability and discussions of human rights.

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