Monday, April 4, 2011

Islam Awareness Week

This week at Tufts, the Muslim Students Association is holding "Islam Awareness Week," dedicated to teaching everyone what Islam is all about.

I made a point to stop by the booth in the Campus Center today before lunch. Just from a brief few-minute knowledge survey, I've already learned some things. For the sake of brevity, they are, simply:

  • "Jihad" means the struggle one endures to practice Islam
  • "Islam" means peace achieved through submission to G-d
  • The Qur'an has great respect for Mary, mother of Jesus, whom it mentions, I am told, more times than the Bible does
  • The Qur'an teaches that "there is no compulsion in religion"
  • Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus all appear in the Qur'an
  • Adam and Eve are both responsible for the Fall, according to the Qur'an, differing slightly from the Judeo-Christian story
  • Jesus's crucifixion is not in the Qur'an

Of course, some of those are intentionally trying to dispel misconceptions (e.g., that jihad means holy war), but others are just fun facts. I had no idea Eve wasn't blamed for original sin. That's cool. After all, thanks to the practices of certain dictators, the world doesn't tend to associate Islam with feminism. But I think it's important  not to confuse politics with religion.

While I intend to eventually go to Muslim services and really try and learn more about the experience, this is an excellent start. College is a time to learn about how different people do things. After all, when is the next time I will be living with Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, and the like, all in one place?

Next for religious experiences: the Hindu celebration of "Holi" Sunday afternoon.

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