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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Muslim community hosts ‘Meet Your Muslim Neighbors’

Photo by Yuri Suchil

Meet your Muslim Neighbor, hosted by the ICBCS, worked to help clarify misconceptions regarding Muslims and the Islamic faith.

Hundreds of patrons from various religious and ethnic backgrounds filled the Islamic Center of Bryan-College Station Saturday, all sharing one common goal: To get to know one another.
The ICBCS hosted their first Meet Your Muslim Neighbors event to open their doors to the community to educate attendees on Islam.
Mosque leader Imam Islam and ICBCS president Anwer Ahmed led the event by hosting a Q&A session with the audience, with topics ranging from politics to basic Islamic beliefs.
Some questions were concerned with how to be a better ally to Muslims during the current political climate.
“Coming out to one another’s events I think is important. I think where we have common ground, we should talk about it and also be able to respectfully articulate our differences as well,” Islam said. “ For example, if a Muslim woman is wearing the headscarf, let them know it’s okay to wear the headscarf. We’re not looking for permission to practice our religion but words of encouragement or words of support, they do go a long way.”
Ahmed said taking the time to educate others can help create conversations, too.
“One other thing that I think could help us a lot is clearing up misconceptions about Islam,” Ahmed said. “Whoever you interact with, whenever you have the appropriate opportunity, just say ‘Hey [Muslims] are regular people like us. They’re believers in God like us.’ Clarifying misconceptions and moving away from this notion that Muslims are radical will help a lot … We all have to stand up for injustice against anybody.”
Nimrah Riaz, ICBCS Women’s social officer and second-year health education graduate student, said this event was inspired by the positive support received from the community.
“We all started getting messages after the executive orders started coming out, and we do have a lot of international students in our community,” Riaz said. “We got an overwhelming amount of messages, we had people drop off flowers at our front lobby, people signed cards and all kinds of stuff.”
Riaz said she knew that many residents had never been to a mosque, and some have never even met a Muslim, so creating an opportunity to do so was imperative.
International studies junior Dariela Teran said the event made her happy to see people joining together to become familiar.
“I think that Christian organizations and interfaith organizations should interact more,” Teran said. “We should get to know each other on a more human level rather than a conceptualized ‘Muslim.’ Meet your neighbor — that’s something I want to see more of.”
As the event came to a close, Ahmed said the questions created productive conversation.
“We are very blessed to be here,” Ahmed said. “The people asked great questions, very thoughtful questions and they were genuinely interested in finding out — not just presuming that we’re guilty but rather interested in finding out what is the Islamic position on various aspects and topics.”
ICBCS will be hosting its annual Open House from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on April 1.

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