Harvard Islamic Society Kicks Off Annual Awareness Week

The Harvard Islamic Society (HIS) kicked off its annual celebration of Islamic Awareness Week on Sunday with a "Night of Devotional Music and Art" featuring Turkish artist Feridun Orzgoren and a performance by Moroccan musician Sa'eed.

Organizers of this year's event said they hope to attract Muslims and non-Muslims, in an effort to educate students about Islam and to unify the Muslim community.

"The aim of this week is not just to increase awareness, but to increase tolerance," said event Co-Chair Rita Hamad '03.

Hamad said event organizers went out of their way to make the week's activities accessible to non-Muslims by inviting well-known speakers such as controversial Turkish parliament member Merve Kavakci, who will speak at the Kennedy School of Government tonight.

They also sponsored a screening of the popular movie Malcolm X.

Hamad's co-chair for the week' events, Faiz R. Shakir '02, said that one of HIS's goals is to break down stereotypes of Muslims. Shakir said he hoped the week would give non-Muslims a broader perspective on the religion.

"We want to give them a couple ways for them to think about Islam," he said.

Other events planned for the week include a banquet and charity fundraiser tomorrow night at the Lowell House Dining Hall. Arabic food will be served and proceeds will go to the Palestine Red Crescent Society or the Holy Land Foundation to help provide medical aid for injured Palestinians involved in the Middle East conflict.