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Students of Pennsylvania University host Event to Combating Islamophobia

A new group on campus of Pennsylvania State University invites students and faculty to participate in an event promoting understanding between Muslims and the community.

United Against Islamophobia (UAI) will host “Inclusive Friday Prayer” from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Friday in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Atrium.

In Islam, weekly religious services are held on Fridays at midday, and the service includes a short sermon and congregational prayer.

UAI invites the public to socialize and learn about the organization, as well as have snacks and Arabic coffee, which will be provided.

Assistant sociology professor Michelle Sandhoff and history professor Christine Baker run UAI. 

Baker studies Middle Eastern history, and Sandhoff studies Muslims in the American military. 

Their research has led them to encourage others to stand up against Islamophobia. 

The organization wants the campus to learn more about Muslim students and create an understanding among communities.

In order to spread knowledge, the organization plans events in conjunction with other organizations.

Last year, the organization participated in a unity rally against the hate crimes that occurred after Donald Trump was elected president in November.

Around 60 people came to the rally, attracting new members to UAI and its ideology.

“We have a big Muslim population at this university,” Baker said, “especially for a small town in Western Pennsylvania. We want [our international students] to feel more comfortable here.

“We want to do more events that make the Muslim community on campus more visible and provide opportunities for people to learn about Islam.”

With recent events since Trump’s election, more people have been speaking out against hate crimes and fighting for those affected.

Baker gave a speech about Trump’s Executive Order, which limited immigration from some Muslim countries as a way to inform the community on ways the Muslim population is being discriminated against in America.

UAI works with the Muslim Student Organization and the Saudi Student Organization to collectively organize events.

It also participates in the monthly Stand Against Racism that the Racial Justice Coalition for Change organizes, which happens on the first class day of every month.

UAI will be showing a film on Nov. 15 titled “New Muslim Cool,” the story of a Puerto Rican-American Muslim rapper from Pittsburgh.


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