This was a class about Islam and the professor thought that it would do a lot of good to invite the Muslim community to come to the class as an opportunity for the students to see “live” Muslims. This meeting accomplished two main purposes; it gave the class the opportunity to move beyond the text book, the professor, and the media to actually hear Muslims make their own case. It also gave MSA members the opportunity to dispel misconceptions surrounding the average American understanding of Islam. This visit was really effective because the students had been studying about Islam and Muslims for a while, so they had some background. In the course of the visit, the professor discussed some theories by Islamic philosophers, and gave the Muslim visitors the opportunity to introduce themselves (to show that they are also ordinary beings like any of the students in the class) and to react to some of the issues raised in the class. After this, the class was divided into a number of groups and the visiting Muslims assigned to hold discussions with respective groups. This event was massively attended by both brothers and sisters.
MSA Meets with Ohio University Dining Services
On November 5, 2008, Ohio University dining services invited the MSA to begin talks with Muslim and Jewish student groups on the possibility of introducing Halal and Kosher meals into the dining halls in the spring quarter of the 2008/2009 academic year. The organizers also took this opportunity to show the visiting groups around the storage facilities of the University dining services as well as the places that some foods are prepared, and how they are transported to respective dining halls upon requests. This event was attended by brothers Fatih and Shani.
A follow-up meeting with the Ohio University dining services was held on November 13 to discuss further the prospects of introducing halal meals onto the menu of the University come spring 2008/2009. At this meeting the University’s representatives were given a clear definition of what constituted halal and what was not. At the end of the discussions they requested that the MSA submit a number of menus from various Muslim groups to them for study, and the menus that will be chosen will be tried out by the University cooks and those MSA members familiar with the selected menus will have the opportunity to try out the cooked food and to make recommendation to the cooks. If all goes well with the taste of the food, the menus will be implemented this spring.
MSA Main Fall Quarter Event: Promoting dialogue
This was an ISU sponsored event and also the major MSA event for fall 2008/2009 quarter. The purpose of this event was to create an opportunity for interaction between the Athens Muslim community and the rest of the Athens/Ohio University community. It was an opportunity to break down barrier to allow MSA members to interact with people of other beliefs. To create this opportunity, speakers were lined up to welcome guests, give them a brief background of MSA in Athens, and to urge dialogue between those that attended the program.
MSA Visits EDCE 623H Class
This event was a panel discussion on Life and Death in EDCE 623H. The course was titled: Counseling the Terminally Ill. It was a class taught by Dr. Yagambaram Pillay and the students were graduate students training to become counselors. The purpose of our invitation was to give students in this class the Muslim perspective of life and death and the rituals that Muslims perform when a Muslim dies. This was necessary because the professor believed that in the field his students might be faced with opportunities to counsel people from Muslim backgrounds when a loved one died hence the need to expose them to the Muslim perspective of what how to console a bereaved Muslim. This event was attended by brothers Hashem and Shani.