Muslim Students Share Culture

by John Budnik '05

November 5, 2004

Curried scents filled Wabash College’s dining hall in the Sparks Center as members of the Muslim Students’ Association served more than 130 faculty, students and guests Nov. 4 at the fifth-annual Ramadan Dinner.

The MSA celebrated Ramadan, the month in which the Islamic holy text or Quran was revealed to Mohammed, with a dinner. The dinner was held in memory of Ryan Champion, a Wabash student who died in a car accident Friday. Members of the Wabash community shared in the cross-cultural event.

"This isn’t just about a meal, it’s about getting people acquainted with Islam outside of media misperceptions," MSA member Samuel Haque said.

Sarah Eltantawi (in photo above) was the featured speaker. Eltantawi consults American organizations about Islam. Recently she spoke at the Democratic National Convention about the need to reach out to the Muslim community.

Eltantawi spoke about changes within the Muslim community since September 11, 2001. She said Sept. 11 sparked a dialogue about women’s rights, which had previously been a taboo subject. She said in order to change the external image of Muslims, Muslims had to change the way women are treated within the community.

MSA members worked quickly to set the tables before guests arrived. The dinner was cooked by Taj of India, an Indianapolis-based resturaunt. Haris Amin, Syud Momtaz Ahmed, Zafer Ahmed and Samuel Haque served guests traditional Indian dishes of chicken curry, lamb curry, vegetable Biryani - a rice and vegetable dish - and pakora - deep fried onions and vegetables. Guests enjoyed the food, many returning for multiple helpings.

Professor of Religion David Blix enjoyed the positive message the MSA dinner sends to the Wabash community. Many students shared his sentiments. Trey Chinn said Wabash has been a place of greater cultural awareness for him and the dinner allowed him to meet another culture face-to-face.

"I felt it was a nice way to participate in the Wabash community," Steven Rhodes said.

Even recent Wabash graduates returned for the event. Syud Amer Ahmed who graduated in 2004 and is studying economics at Purdue University returned to see friends and former professors at the Ramadan dinner.

The dinner allowed Muslim students to share their faith and culture with their professors and fellow students outside of class.

Budnik is Managing Editor of The Bachelor. Photos by Brock Johnson a Bachelor photographer. The Bachelor is Wabash College's student newspaper.

 


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