As part of Islam Awareness Week 2017, at the North Carolina State University, the Muslim Students’ Association hosted a Prayer on the Lawn Tuesday on Stafford Commons. The event welcomed approximately 35 people, with both Muslim and non-Muslim students participating in the evening prayer, called Asr.
Rakan DiarBakerli, a graduate student studying art and design, recited the prayer, and later led the discussion on what prayer means and why Muslims pray. He started the discussion by explaining that each of the four parts (called rak’ah) of the prayer consists of reciting passages from the Quran, the holy book of Islam, and physical rituals including kneeling and prostrating.
“When you put yourself down on a low level and put your face — the nobility of a human — on the ground, you’re lowering yourself in the presence of the most High and the most powerful,” DiarBakerli said. “It’s a mixture of physical worship and spiritual worship.”
Safi Ahmed, a senior studying computer science, equated prayer to a break during a game.
“If you’re in the game, and you get tired, you take a break and get refreshment,” Ahmed said. “That’s what prayer is to us.”
The prayer began with the Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer before students lined up on a tarp facing the direction of Mecca to pray. The Adhan was performed by Mohammad Omary, president of MSA and a junior studying chemical engineering.
Mohanad Alsaftawi, a junior studying materials science and engineering and one of the event organizers, explained that prayer, which happens at least five times a day, is one of the essential parts of Islam and is one of the five pillars of the faith.
“We are required as Muslims to, as soon as the time comes, find an appropriate area in a clean, undisturbed area, and pray in it, whether that’s in the side of a classroom, or on a grassy field somewhere,” Alsaftawi said.
He said that the event was in part meant to make public Muslim prayer less alien to people, adding that many do not understand the ritual and are sometimes scared by it.
“The idea behind the event is to just normalize the prayer, normalize the expression — the physical prayer in public — so that people understand why we do it, how we do it, and they can come here and ask questions,” Alsaftawi said.
According to the MSA, the purpose of Islam Awareness Week is to educate students — particularly non-Muslims — about the religion and culture of Islam, and the rituals of practicing Muslims.
Why is it acceptable to host muslim awareness, but not Christian awareness? Why aren’t Christians teaching muslims about their faith? Why does the ban on religion in schools exclude Islam?
For a nation that goes to extremes to separate religion from schools and government, we’re seeing more and more muslim awareness efforts around every corner. From teen-age girls made to wear burkas, to classes teaching the five pillars of Islam, and now a whole week dedicated to raising our awareness of their prayer customs.
This is a soft encroachment that is creeping into the US in small fragments that seem harmless, but when you step back and look at the overall picture, you see a nationwide effort to normalize all things Islam, and that’s the scary part. More young people are warming up to this prayerful side of Islam, many out of curiosity, but the muslims are leaving out the violent side of their religion. They don’t familiarize the non-muslims with the sections of the Quran that call for the beating of wives, the chopping off of hands, the stonings and the demands for death as a martyr to get into heaven.
These muslims are every bit as hypocritical as the liberal leadership in our schools who allow this. The longer this is ignored, the more dominate it becomes.
ps. Did you notice the blonde guy in the front row, and how the female students are in the back row, behind the guys, as is the muslim custom?