A week ago, Wednesday, the Islamic Society of Boston University (ISBU) held a public prayer, puzzling onlookers.
Though it may seem like an everyday thing for many other religions, being that our freedoms of religion and assembly are protected by the First Amendment, this was a major stand for the Islamic community, not only on Boston's campus.
In observance of Islam Awareness Month and Gender Advocacy and Progress Week, 16 students gathered outside to pray. There are many stigmas attached the religion, and ISBU President Taiba Zahir told the Daily Free Press that this was the "perfect opportunity to break those stereotypes." Aside from the ignorant accusations of terrorism that Muslims are faced with daily, many outsiders have stereotyped the religion to be restricting for women.
Zahir wanted people to know that this is the opposite, that Islam is empowering for women. In addition to breaking through these stereotypes, the prayer served to raise awareness in spreading "the real message" of Islam. Since the 9/11 attacks, Muslims have been targeted. As Muslim students living in what CNN has called one of the most intensely anti-Muslim periods in American history, the ISBU's public prayer is truly a bold move made by students unashamed of who they are, especially in a political season tainted by Islamophobia.
As Needa Shaikh, a freshman ISBU member, told the Daily Free Press, "You shouldn’t be afraid to practice your religion freely and openly.” Hopefully, their demonstration will be a breakthrough example for the Islamic community to continue to be unashamed.
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