The Advance-Titan

Muslim students look to educate campus

The UW Oshkosh Muslim Student Association handed out Qurans and answered questions about their faith at an informational session in Reeve Memorial Union on Thursday.

MSA Vice President Jamal Arafeh said this event was to help inform people about Islam.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about Islam, especially with the media,” Arafeh said. “That is a big part of misleading ideas about Islam. So we are here just to show what Islam is really about.”

According to MSA President Zeeshan Sabih said the event educated people about the faith and beliefs of Muslims.

“We’re here to answer any questions that people might have, and they should feel encouraged to ask us and not feel shy about that,” Sabih said. “People have a lot of questions, people have some wild ideas about what Islam is, so we’re here to answer any questions people might have. Islam is not a violent religion, that’s one big thing people think about.”

Junior Tariq Anjum said he went to the MSA event to check it out after hearing about it earlier.

“I just wanted to come and see because I am Muslim too,” Anjum said. “I wanted to come and see all they are doing.”

According to Alyssa Borchardt, there are many people that take interest in Islam.

“They just want to know,” Borchardt said. “They want to educate themselves on it just so they can have a stance in what’s going on.”
Borchardt said this session exposed people to topics that they had not been aware of.

“They learn pretty much just the basics of Islam, like how we’re a monotheistic religion,” Borchardt said. “A lot of what we’re talking about are just any general questions that people have, which we get some interesting ones sometimes.”

Borchardt said this session was a way to ward off the hate that has appeared within the community.

“It’s just a way to kind of reach out, to talk to people so that they know that we’re not hateful people, we’re not out to get them, anything like that,” Borchardt said. “It’s just a way for us to be able to reach out to the community to know us.”

According to Borchardt, talking to MSA members can help diminish this hate.

“If they see us and they talk to us, all the hate goes away,” Borchardt said. “You can hate someone if you don’t know them, but once you know them it’s much harder to hate someone.”

Borchardt said the club is a way for Muslims and Muslim supporters to come together.

“Pretty much what we do is we just meet every couple weeks to know who’s in the community and know who supports us,” Borchardt said.
“[MSA is] just a safe space for Muslim students or people who support Muslim students.”

According to Borchardt, UWO students are not the only people involved in the club.

“You don’t need to be a part of the school to be involved in the club,” Borchardt said. “I’m involved in the club and I help out. I’m not a student, I just help out at events or I just come and show support.”

According to Anjum, students should take interest in this group to better their understanding of Islam.

“This is something we all need in order to have a better understanding about different religions,” Anjum said. “People are from different faiths. The more they talk to each other, the more they get a better understanding.”

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Muslim students look to educate campus