Islam Awareness Week at Harvard: Sharia 101 : Veilings, beheadings, hiphop and CAIR on "Media Madness"
March 10, 2005
GUINNESS WORLD RECORD
This miniature Qur'aan is now recognized as the world's smallest
MIM: Harvard is living up to it's current reputation as a "Poison Ivy League" institution whose gratitutde for the funding provided to them by the Zayed Foundation and Bin Laden family is evident in the flourishing of Islamism on campus which is evident in this Islam Awareness Week which presents such enlightening offerings :
MIM: A course which appears to be a variation of the "chicken and the egg" question
*Sharia 101: Islamic Law Demystified
"Veilings, beheadings, and concern for individual freedom "
Aptly billed as an entertaining exploration of a serious topic", The Council of American Islamic Relations, a group which has tried to censor the media in this country through threats and intimidation,(most recently with an outcry over the series "24" which portrays Muslims as terrorists), will paradoxically explain why this is "detrimental to the civil rights of Muslims, Arabs and others living in the Uniteds States today."
*Media Madness : " Why Stereotypes Suck "
MIM: Which begs the question as to whether gospel is now obsolete.
*Islam, Hip Hop, and Black America:
"Lyrical Swords, Hip Hop and Politics in the Mix"
Which begs three questions:
Will the food be halal,kosher, or vegetarian?
Is delicious a racist statement is this context ?
*Wearing my Religion :
"An interfaith discussion over religous symbols in the modern world , over delicious food especially prepared for us ."
MIM : Da'wa 101
Friday Prayer :
" Weekly gathering for Muslims"
Stop by and observe the highlight of the Muslim Week !
ISLAM AWARENESS WEEK 2005 February 28th to March 4th
In addition to the events listed below, the adhaan (call to prayer) will be recited from the steps of Widener at 1:00 PM, Monday thru Thursday
ISLAM, HIP HOP & BLACK AMERICA Monday, Feb. 28, 5:00 PM Location: Yenching Auditorium [2 Divinity Avenue off of Kirkland St] Speakers: Adisa Banjoko, author, "Lyrical Swords: Hip Hop and Politics in the Mix" Taha Abdel Basser, PhD candidate, Harvard University Description: Islam and African American culture are not commonly perceived as related, but are in fact intimately linked. Come to hear about the nature and consequences of this close interaction. The talk will be followed by a book signing.
SHARIA 101: ISLAMIC LAW DEMYSTIFIED Wednesday, March 2, 7:00 PM Location: Fong Auditorium, Boylston Hall [in Harvard Yard next to Widener Library] Speaker: Imam Suheil Laher, Muslim Chaplain, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Description: Veiling, beheading and concerns about individual freedom permeate contemporary understandings of Islamic Law. Yet, like the earlier Mosaic Law, Sharia is a comprehensive system, offering personal, moral and social guidance. Come to gain a macroscopic understanding of Sharia, including its sources, aims, and interpretation.
WEARING MY RELIGION (A Dinner Table Discussion) Thursday, March 3, 6:00 PM Location: Adams House Conservatory Description: Join us for an informal interfaith discussion about religious symbols in the modern world, over delicious food specially prepared for us.
FRIDAY PRAYER Friday, March 4, 1:20 PM Location: Lowell Lecture Hall [corner of Kirkland & Oxford Streets] Description: The Friday prayer is the main weekly gathering for Muslims. The service begins with a 30 minute sermon offering moral guidance, and ends with ritual prayer. Stop by to observe the highlight of a Muslim's week!
MEDIA MADNESS: WHY STEREOTYPES SUCK Friday, March 4, 4:00 PM Location: Fong Auditorium, Boylston Hall [in Harvard Yard, next to Widener Library] Speaker: Arsalan Iftikhar, National Legal Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations Description: Come to an entertaining exploration of a serious topic - the detrimental effects of stereotypes in the media on the civil liberties of Muslims, Arabs, and others in America today.
CRIMSON/ KEVIN J. PAIK Taha Abdul-Basser '96 speaks last night in Yenching Auditorium on the common threads of Islamic and African-American culture.
Islamist remarks and 'stereotyping' are given a pass at Harvard as seen by these statements made by a "hip hop journalist" during Islam Awareness week:
"Hip-hop made it cool for black kids to be smart "
"...Most African-American males do not relate to the Bible and do not trust the Bible," Banjoko said..."
Islamic Awareness Week Begins
By JOSHUA P. ROGERS Crimson Staff Writer
About 40 students turned out last night for the kickoff event of Islamic Awareness Week—a structured discourse called "Islam, Hip-Hop and Black America," featuring two speakers who discussed the relationship between modern Islam and the African-American community.
The event was co-sponsored by the Harvard Islamic Society, the Harvard Foundation, the Black Students Association, the Association of Black Harvard Women, and the Black Men's Forum.
Adisa Banjoko, a provocative hip-hop journalist and author of Lyrical Swords, gave a 45-minute speech about Islamic influence on hip-hop cultures.
Banjoko explained that the rise in popularity of hip-hop was a result of social pressures of the early 1970s and the aftermath of 1960s civil rights movements.
Banjoko also attributed hip-hop's rise to cutbacks in the funding for art programs in the "education establishment," which inspired African-American youth to create new forms of art as self-expression and rebellion.
"If you're not going to teach us poetry, I'm going to teach myself poetry my own way with my own rhythms," Banjoko said.
But Banjoko said that African-American Christian churches immediately began to attack the fledgling hip-hop movement, creating tension between African-American youth and traditional Christianity.
"Most African-American males do not relate to the Bible and do not trust the Bible," Banjoko said, a fact which enabled Islam to appeal to a greater segment of the population.
This fissure, according to Banjoko, produced an explosion of Islamic themes and lyrics in rap music.
Banjoko pointed to the Malcolm X quotations used in many 1980s rap songs as well as to more recent incarnations—such as the title of 50 Cent's song "Ghetto Qua ran."
Banjoko also noted that white musicians such as Anthrax have covered songs which feature Islamic nomenclature, including Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise."
"Hip-hop made it cool for black kids to be smart," Banjoko said.
Banjoko spoke after an introduction by Taha Abdul-Basser '96, a Ph.D. candidate in Islamic Studies and an Islamic representative to the United Ministry at Harvard.
Abdul-Basser spoke about the need for further investigation into "the differential between the familiarity of African-Americans with Islam and the familiarity between the rest of American culture and Islam."
"Whether it be my home town of New York City or any urban center, you'd be hard pressed to find an African-American who couldn't respond to the traditional Muslim greeting," Abdul-Basser said.
Abdul-Bassar described two theories which are often used to explain the discrepancy between African-American familiarity with Islam and Caucasian familiarity with the religion.
He called the theories: "The one fourth of them were Muslim thesis," and the "Islam as a counter-establishment in order to spite the white majority thesis."
The first thesis identified evidence of Islamic influence that survived from the Atlantic slave trade and the ante-bellum era, while the second thesis attributed Islam's prominence among African-Americans to the effectiveness of such recent figures as Malcolm X.
"[Malcolm X's] impact can barely be overstated," Abdul-Basser said.
The two hour event, whose audience was predominately male, was followed by a session of prayer and a book signing.
MIM: The Muslim students at the University of Michigan have found a solution for any student who does not consider converting during Islam Awareness Week. The MSA an started "A Day in the Life" program in which non Muslims can spend entire days with "a Muslim buddy" so that they can "ask questions in a more comfortable setting ".
Instead of just "observing" Muslims at prayer , students are being 'taken' into a mosque by there Muslim "buddy" to pray with them. Students also have "the option to wear a cap as some Muslim men do or the scarf as some Muslim women choose to wear".
Instead of learning it in a lecture hall or reading it in a textbook, students can participate in Muslim rituals and experience Muslim culture through a "A Day in the Life," presented by the Muslim Students' Association. The program pairs non-Muslim students with a "buddy" from MSA with whom they will be in contact and attend events from today until Friday.
Over the course of the three days, participants will view an Islamic calligraphy exhibit at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, attend prayer in a mosque at the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor and have the option to wear a cap as some Muslim men do or the scarf as some Muslim women choose to wear.
"It's a more informal, personal experience," said MSA Vice President Aisha Jukaku. "You get to have a better perspective of what it's like (to be a Muslim) and ask questions in a more comfortable setting."
Amjad Tarsin, LSA junior and Islam awareness chair for MSA, said the purpose of the program is to allow non-Muslims to gain insight into spiritual and religious practices they would not be able to see otherwise.
"The goal of it is to build cultural and educational bridges and clear misconceptions portrayed by the media," Tarsin said.
Azmat Khan, LSA sophomore and social chair for the Pakistani Students' Association, echoed Tarsin, saying that while people can see a Muslim kneeling to pray on television, experiencing it in person can offer a better understanding of what the prayer actually means.
"It definitely gives students the opportunity to experience the private aspects of the religion that aren't often seen," Khan said