Report: Campus Life and Muslim College Students Seminar
The Fairfax Institute held a half-day seminar, “Campus Life and Muslim College Students,” on August 18, 2014. Featured lecturers included Professor Omid Safi (Duke University), Professor Jonathan Brown (Georgetown University) and Dr. Ermin Sinanovic (IIIT). The student panel included Omar Nassimi (George Mason University - GMU), Omama Altaleb, a student of GMU and founder of Layali Magazine (http://layaliwebzine.com/), and Abrar Omeish (Yale University). Twenty-one students from freshman to seniors attended the seminar.
Among the topics discussed during the lecture were how to seek Islamic education, addressing Muslims in the Media, and interfaith relations. Prof. Omid Safi encouraged students to engage in humanistic studies and liberal arts. He also advised the students to stand for social justice and fairness. Prof. Jonathan Brown and Dr. Ermin Sinanovic both relayed to students the importance of equipping themselves with facts and not relying on the media to shape their understanding of the Muslim-American narrative. The student panelists then shared their experiences in college, how they navigate the college experience, and shared their words of wisdom for making the best of the college years.
Omar Nassimi focused on the cultural and intellectual challenges of being Muslim in college, while Abrar Omeish focused on the significance of faith in college. Umama Altaleb shared 10 tips to successfully navigate campus life as a Muslim.
Students were thoroughly engaged in the discourse discussing issues of identity and shared their experiences of being Muslim in college. "Today was extremely intellectually stimulating and definitely stretched my thinking," while another said “I feel more confident to address negativity directed towards Islam now”. Many students also shared that the seminar challenged them to confront their own ideas about Islam.