‘Debunking Islamophobia’ event dispels misconceptions of Muslims

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At the UC Patio Tuesday, sophomore and treasurer of Muslim Students of the University of Miami Aya Eltantawy works to dispel negative imagery of Muslims as part of Islam Awareness Week. Shreya Chidarala // Staff Photographer

At the UC Patio Tuesday, sophomore and treasurer of Muslim Students of the University of Miami Aya Eltantawy works to dispel negative imagery of Muslims as part of Islam Awareness Week. Shreya Chidarala // Staff Photographer

Muslim Students of the University of Miami (MSUM) gathered on the UC Patio Tuesday to distribute bracelets and information cards featuring prominent Muslims at “Debunking Islamophobia,” a daylong event. The event was part of Islam Awareness Week and was held on campus to counteract the negative imagery of Muslims that permeates the media and popular rhetoric.

Aya Eltantawy, MSUM treasurer, was in charge of choosing the famous faces to place on the information cards.

“I tried to compile a list of people from the present that are likely to be recognized, like DJ Khaled and Muhammad Ali. I also wanted to include people who had made major historical contributions,” Eltantawy said.

MSUM decided to hand out the bracelets with the slogan “Peace be Upon U” in order to remind people that Islam and violence, Muslims and turmoil are not synonymous.

“We want people to associate Muslims with positive things,” Eltantawy said.

MSUM members said they found students to be responsive to this event and to other events throughout the week. Some members said they were even able to help a student change her mother’s perception of Muslims by opening dialogue.

“Most people that stop to talk to us are pretty open-minded. They tend to just ask for more information about religious customs,” Eltantawy said.

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