Intercultural respect and understanding in a diverse community are the main purpose of this year's Islam Awareness Week at UBC.
Islam Awareness Week (IAW), hosted by the Muslim Students' Association of UBC (MSA-UBC), is a week-long series of events that mainly focus on spreading the word about Islam. The events will consist of engaging seminars hosted by reputable Islamic speakers, dynamic exhibits at the SUB and free learning materials.
"We've had IAW since five years ago as a single event. It used to be [that] each university in Western Canada had its own separate IAW, but for now we decided to do it as collaboration in order to gain more awareness,” said Sivar Rajab Khan, president of the MSA-UBC.
IAW is being held this week, January 26 to 28, in universities throughout Western Canada. According to Khan, events for the week had been planned throughout the year since the last IAW; it took a lot of time for the MSA-UBC to brainstorm themes, book speakers and organize volunteers, while being "on the same page" as other universities.
This year, the Muslim Students' Associations of Western Canada chose “The Messenger,” a sort of superhero theme, as their main focus for all of the seminars being presented. This was decided with the thought in mind that it would be interesting to integrate the idea of Muhammad (as the final messenger of Allah) as the superhero of Islamic teachings, based on the public’s familiarity with iconic superhero tropes.
According to the IAW Facebook event, seminar themes include "Kryptonite for Corruption," and "The Incredibles," among others.
“We want to link these ideas in order to be fun, make it appealing and easier for the UBC community and beyond to learn in depth on what Islam is all about,” said Khan.
According to Khan, IAW's main goal is simply to raise awareness and show "the real Islam."
"In order to reduce misconceptions about Islam, through this event we give ourselves a chance to teach others about our religion, but also, at the same time, give the opportunity for others to ask questions and make everything clear about Islam," she said.
Correction: Due to a typographical error, a previous version of this article referred to Sivar Rajab Khan as "he." The Ubyssey regrets the error.