9/11, terror, war, women with faces covered by dark black veils…some Americans believe these words define the Muslim faith. To provide students with a more accurate understanding of what it means to be Muslim, Chaplain Rosie Magee and International Student advisor Paul Miller planned a trip to a Muslim mosque in Harrisburg.
To provide students with a more accurate understanding of what it means to be Muslim, Chaplain Rosie Magee and International Student advisor Paul Miller planned a trip to a Muslim mosque in Harrisburg.
"Lifting" the veil
To answer this question, Chaplain Rosie Magee and International Student advisor Paul Miller planned a trip to a mosque which is a Muslim’s worship place.
Faryal Mehr, a Pakistani student joined the trip.
"I joined Wilson for the fall 2011 semester through the U.S. Department of State’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Pakistan. This program aims to promote understanding both in America and Pakistan," said Mehr.
"Before I leave, this trip is a good opportunity to learn my religion and Muslim culture," continued Mehr.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Mosque
Ten students went to Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Harrisburg, Pa.
First, students enjoyed Pakistani food. Traditional bread called nann and soup were served.
"Most of all, I was so surprised because a Muslim lady asked Paul to move his seat. In Muslim culture, men and women have a separate seat during meals," Taylor Staudt ’15 said.
After having a dinner, students participated in dinner service.
In the prayer room, there was a curtain to separate men and women’s prayer space.
A Muslim priest recited prayer in melody and Muslim people bowed several times. Some women who had a difficulty bending their knees took a seat and just bowed their heads.
"I was looking at young Muslim women while they pray. They wear jeans and shirts but they wear scarves on their heads. It looks interesting to me," Sonja Hess ‘15 said.
To many students, the Muslim prayers were unfamiliar.
President of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Ayesha Ahmad wanted to explain Muslim religion and their culture.
Students and several Muslim people gathered in a larger prayer hall and talked together.
"After 9/11, people consider me as a terrorist. I can’t judge the terrorist are Muslim or not but they acted un-Muslim behavior. Basically they were extremists," Ahmad said.
Mehr, as the first Muslim student at Wilson, added she want people to realize their biased view of Muslim.
"I hope there will be more opportunities to learn Muslim," Mehr says.