‘Islamo-Fashion’ to promote Al-Nur
By Julie Kim
Published on Tuesday, November 6, 2007
No need for the double-take: The posters read "Islamo-Fashion Awareness Week." Al-Nur marked the beginning of its Islamo-Fashion Awareness Week with a movie on Monday. Events planned for the rest of the week include group discussions and a sundown prayer. The event takes place two weeks after the controversy surrounding headline speaker Robert Spencer, who concluded "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" on Monday, Oct. 29th.
Ediz Tiyansan '09, student director for the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at the Tucker Foundation and one of the organizers of the program, said that planning for an Islamic awareness campaign had been in the works before Islamo-Fascism week. The fallout from that week motivated the Multi-faith Council, which includes members from Al-Nur and the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, to organize a "peaceful interfaith dialogue," which became Islamo-Fashion week.
"Not just Muslims, but people from a variety of backgrounds felt disturbed," Tiyansan said. "There was a disappointment among students at the narrow-minded stereotyping."
Adrian Wood-Smith '10, Pan-Asian Council representative for Al-Nur, maintained that he did not want the event to be seen as a response to Islamo-Fascism week.
"We respect Mr. Spencer's right to free speech," Wood-Smith said. "It seemed tragic he was emphasizing the link between Islam and violence, and we felt like if we would respond to that, it would look like we had something to prove."
The main goal of the event is to raise awareness of Al-Nur and the Islamic community at large. Such awareness projects have been in the works for some time as an ongoing Al-Nur objective, according to Sara Ludin '08, former co-president of Al-Nur.
Tiyansan noted that the event was crucial to utilizing diversity on a more personal level.
"From my point of view, we are still very much segregated. The whole point of diversity on campus is to learn from each other, and if we don't have such events, we can't expect people to come out of their shells automatically," Tiyansan said. "You can take as many Muslim classes as you want, but unless you get to know Muslim students, you aren't getting anywhere."
This week's event strives to bring a social element to the awareness initiative, Tiyansan said. The group chose to title the event Islamo-Fashion Awareness Week to change peoples' misconceptions about the Islamic world, according to Wood-Smith. Organizers of the event wanted to show that Muslims were not so different from everyone else, he added.
"A lot of the time, when Americans think about Islam, they think of a bearded Arab man in robes and a skull cap," Wood-Smith said. "Seeing that Islam is not a dominant religion here, most people don't hear our responses. We don't have such a large voice as other religious communities."
Besides Al-Nur, other sponsors for the event include the Multi-Faith Council and Hillel.
"Clearly, the events of last week drove home our view that there should be more awareness at Dartmouth about Islam and Muslims" Ludin said.