IslamFest, previously known as Islam Awareness Week, was hosted by the UTM Muslim Students’ Association last week.
“We tried to make an event where everyone, no matter what their faith is, can come out and learn about Islam,” said Syed Gilani, the president of UTM MSA. “The purpose of IslamFest was to start showing what Muslims cared about instead of talking about it only.”
UTM MSA set up booths in the CCT Building from Monday to Thursday.
“People would stop by and ask questions that they had regarding Islam. Questions usually went in all directions, from Islamic history to the idea of a creator, but I think people were usually very interested in the Qur’an,” said Gilani. “A lot of people came and took copies of the translated Qur’an that were available at the booth.”
Each event addressed a different issue, attracted a different crowd, and was facilitated by different speakers.
On Monday, an event called “Muslims in Media!” was held in the Instructional Centre, and talked about questions such as “What is the ‘islamophobia industry’?” and “How are Muslims depicted in the media today? What can we do to empower ourselves to create our own narratives?” Jawad Jafry, a producer, director, writer, editor, and narrator whose work as a documentarian and children’s television producer has been featured in major newspapers and on TV across North America, was the guest speaker. Later that night, the IslamFest organizers presented “Why Islam?” with guest speaker Fiyyaz Jaat, a sought-after counsellor and speaker in the GTA.
The highlight of the week was perhaps Tuesday’s event, called “Muslim Women: The Real CoverGirl”. The event, hosted by Yasmine Youssef (UTMSU’s VP equity) and featuring guests Ruqayyah Ahdab (the managing director of U of T’s
Muslim chaplaincy), Katherine Bullock (a political science professor at U of T), and Rabia Khedr (the executive director of the Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities), was presented in the form of a talk show whose subject was the misconceptions people have about women in Islam.
On Thursday night, UTM MSA held an Open Mic Night in the MiST Theatre.
The tagline for the week’s events was “Learn, enjoy, celebrate.”