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Grant received to promote Muslim Culture

February 1, 2013

Joe Florio / The Courier - Pictured is a selection of the books picked out for the display in the Hewes Library, as part of the grant received from the National Endowment of Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA).

On Thursday, Jan. 24th, the first Muslim Journeys event took place in the Buchanan Center. The Muslim Journeys group was developed last semester by several faculty and staff members at MC. The program was designed as a series of educational events to promote a positive representation of the Islamic culture.

The Monmouth College library received a grant from the National Endowment of Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA) to add 25 books and 3 DVDs to the Muslim Journey’s bookshelf. Richard Sayre, Hughes Library Director, thought that the grant was not only beneficial to the students at Monmouth College, but for the Monmouth College community as a whole,

“The Muslim Journeys program was designed as a method of educating and understanding for Muslims and Non-Muslims alike,” said Sayre. “Not only do we wish to educate our students, but that members from the Monmouth community will come to our programs as well.”

At the 1st event, some basic history of the religion of Islam were briefly taught along with a panel discussion featuring associate dean of students Mohsin Masood and professor of political science Farhat Haq, both Pakistani Muslims who have lived in the United States for many years.

Overall, Muslim Journeys plans to have four events once a month for the rest of the semester.

The upcoming programs will include “Islam, an Old American Religion: The Long Journey from 17th/18th-century Africa to 21st Century U.S. Cities,” which will be presented by professor Petra Kuppinger on Feb. 11 in Hewes Library; a film, “Islamic Art Spots,” which will be shown at the library on March 27, and a Sufi Poetry reading coinciding with National Poetry Month on April 10 at the Buchanan Center. All programs will begin at 7 p.m.

These programs will promote the teachings of Muslim traditions and history in hopes of eliminating negative stereotypes.

Professor Hannah Schell would like to see a change in society’s thinking towards Muslims as a whole and wants to make a difference through Muslim Journeys.
“Our hope is that this grant and the programming will help inform members of the Monmouth community about Islam, which is often misunderstood even among well-meaning people,” said Schell. “There is a lot of hateful and erroneous information purporting to explain Islam that circulates in our culture – on the internet and through various media. If people come away from these programs with a better sense of Islam as a living religion, and also a sense of the diversity, beauty and wisdom of Muslim cultures, we will be satisfied.”

Monmouth College was one of 848 other schools to receive a library bookshelf grant. All libraries that have received the grant are automatically eligible for upcoming grant opportunities.

Zakiyyah Ali
Contributing Writer

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