Huffington Post’s Muslim Series: College Students Want to Break the Stereotypes
Alexandria Svokos from Huffington Post is writing up a series of interviews with different Muslim college students across the country.
The series includes essays, conversations, and even video blogs. With the growing Muslim population, there is bound to be a lot of discrimination across the United States. However, these students urge non-Muslims to ask questions about their religion, and develop an understanding of it. They urge their fellow Muslims to, in turn, provide answers, and encourage tolerance of those in the Muslim faith. These stories are heartfelt, sincere and cover a wide expanse of college life. Two fairly common themes throughout the series is community and communication. Many take on a more forgiving tone as they talk about the somewhat offensive questions or acts of discrimination they may experience, asking how they should know any better if all they see is the negativity on social media.
Muslim College Students Share Their Experiences
Many different students contributed their stories, allowing Svokos to clarify things along the way. Fatmah Berikaa, for example, is currently the only Hijabi student who lives on her campus at Boston College. However, she says that she has an overwhelmingly good experience at her school. She said that she found everyone on campus to be “really open and friendly.” She thinks it’s really sweet when people make an attempt to understand her religion, asking her questions about it. She adds that sometimes she gets some outrageous ones, “but I’d rather have them ask me outrageous questions and get the right information than go on believing something that’s not true.” She balances her prayer time to her school life by arranging her schedule around the five times each day that she prays.
— Antonia Blumberg (@AntoniaMiran) April 7, 2015
Hatice, a student at Brandeis University, described her trials throughout middle and high school to find a private prayer spot. Her school, she is relieved to see, has a Muslim Student Association Suite on the campus that has a prayer room and an ablution space, which has “made my university experience a lot more enjoyable.” Other schools have Muslim fraternities including the University of California in San Diego. Masud Rahman, who has many leaderships throughout the school, has the rush chair for Alpha Lambda Mu. He feels that the fraternity “and MSA are really valuable” to their community, and it fosters a positive influence in their lives. The fraternity incorporates aspects of Muslim values, and they focus primarily on giving back to the community through service.
Wassim Kanaan, a senior at Pace University in New York City, has taken on his own leadership positions throughout his college. He feels that, as a leader, he should work to confront the stereotypical misconceptions about Islam, and reach out to those who aren’t sure of things. You can watch his video blog about it here.