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BMSA counters "Punish a Muslim Day"

by Nicholas Mazur - Campus Talk Editor
Tue, Apr 10th 2018 12:00 pm
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It’s no secret that Muslim folks in America get a very bad rap. Ignorance flies from all corners, from sea to shining sea. 

It seems we have something against these people for no reason. In fact, the sentiment is something shared not just amongst Americans, but now overseas in the U.K. as well. 

Recently, an image began circulating on the internet — a sheet of paper detailing a game known as “Punish a Muslim Day,” that was to take place on April 3. 

The sheet detailed levels of points for different actions levied against Muslim individuals. Without going into the details of that (see this week’s editorial), it seems enough to say that there is a vastly present resentment and hatred toward Muslim people.

With that in mind, The College at Brockport’s Muslim Student Association (BMSA) organized an event to combat this attitude. “A Night With the Muslims” was an event for anyone at Brockport to attend and get a slice of the culture while interacting with people that are Muslim.

 The event was held in the Union Gallery and featured several stations with food, henna and hijab wrapping to give people a snapshot experience of the aspects of Islamic culture.

There was plenty of seating and before the event started, the BMSA president, Halima Hussein, spoke to the crowd. 

“It’s really refreshing to see new faces in the light of the recent ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ on April 3,” Hussein said.

The food that was featured included several kinds, such as rice, plantains, empanadas and more, representing selections from several different culturally inspired dishes. At another station, you could try both dates and Zamzam water, foods which carry a more religious aspect for many Muslims across the world.

Zamzam water is considered to be holy water, and stems from a story in the Quran in which Abraham’s second wife is left in the desert with her child, and God sends an angel to spring forth a well for her. The Zamzam well is located in Saudi Arabia and many Muslims go on their Hajj, or religious pilgrimage to Mecca. 

This drink was offered to those attending the event, and is often bottled and sold around the world, where it is famous for its many benefits. 

Dates are used in Islamic tradition as well. During Ramadan, the month of religious fasting for Muslims, dates are one of the primary foods used to break their daily fast once the sun has set. 

The event also included a trivia table which quizzed attendees about facts from Islamic culture and the Quran. One question asked was, “who has a more prominent role in the Quran, men or women?” The answer: women.  

Beside that table was the henna station, which attracted a lot of people. Though we tend to take it for granted, henna is a religious form of tattoo coming from any one of several types of trees. It has been used historically by Jews, Muslims and Christians primarily in wedding ceremonies and to promote good luck.

The final table was one full of hijabs. Attendees could sit down and have a hijab wrapped around their head, to wear at the event. The event as a whole seemed to be a starkly open invitation for anyone to experience Muslim culture and customs. 

Where ignorance breeds fear and hate, BMSA attempted to use openness and education to help themselves be more understood by the Brockport population. The event was of simple design and scope, but managed to pack an insightful smattering of Muslim culture. 

Walking away from it, you couldn’t help but find “Punish a Muslim Day,” just that more idiotic and lacking in so much understanding of the real rhythms of Muslim culture. 



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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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