Principal Saini discusses the Charter for Compassion with Ruqayyah Ahdab, president of MSA. Raneem Meknas

Between Tuesday, March 8 and Friday, March 11, the UTM Muslim Students’ Association hosted Islam Awareness Week at UTM, an event that gives Muslims on campus the opportunity to engage with their fellow students in discussion about Islam, life, and faith. Everyone was welcome to attend.

“Islam Awareness Week is an annual forum that engages the UTM community in conversation on faith and serves to answer any questions people may have about Islam,” said Ruqayyah Ahdab, president of the UTM MSA.

Booths and displays offering reading material and welcome discussion were set in the CCT Atrium for each day of IAW, and each evening a free lecture from a guest lecturer offered information about topics under the theme of the week. This year’s unique theme was “Compassion: The Essence of Humanity”.

“We sincerely believe that compassion is the stepping stone that enriches our interaction and allows us to come together as one humanity, despite our diversity in appearance and beliefs. No one can deny the call to return to compassion, faith-member or not. It is a powerful and fundamental step to changing the world,” said Ahdab. “This IAW, we inaugurated a student-drafted ‘Charter for Compassion’ in order to raise awareness about the actions and traits that we as the human race should rekindle, and reinforce a basis for compassion. This charter was signed in an array of languages by students from all around UTM, administration members, the principal, and the dean. The charter is going to be framed in the Principal’s Office as a reminder of the commitment we undertook.”

On Tuesday, the lecture entitled “A Beginner’s Guide to Islam” was held in Kaneff 137 at 6:30 p.m. The following night, the lecture was held in the Davis Building, room 2072, and was called, “Models of Compassion for Our Time.” On Thursday, “One God. One Message. One Humanity” was the title of the lecture held at 7 p.m. in the same room.

“As one of the largest clubs on campus, we take pride in the hard work we do over the year for our members,” said Ahdab. “However, we also value stepping out of our comfort zone and reaching out to our entire campus in events like IAW, since this gives any person on campus the chance to approach Muslims on campus and learn about Islam. To clarify our stance this year, we put up signs that said: ‘We are not here to convert or argue or disparage. We welcome everyone in the spirit of mutual acceptance and respect. Islam Awareness Week is a safe and open space for the exchange of questions and ideas.’ ”

On Thursday, March 17, said Ahdab, the MSA hosted a world-renowned speaker and direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad. His spoke on the legal principles of Islamic governance, which, said Ahdab, “is particularly poignant in light of the revolutionary movements spreading across the Middle East.” Everyone was invited to attend and admission was free.

The UTM MSA will wrap up the year with a farewell dinner after exams are finished.

Anyone with concerns, questions, or comments is welcome to email the UTM MSA at

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