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Oklahoma City University Hosts Islam Day
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City University will host its second annual Islam Day Sept. 2 to encourage cultural understanding with various campus activities. A panel discussion titled “Women in Islam: Issues of Identity and Empowerment” at 4:30 p.m. is free to the public in the Kerr McGee Auditorium in the Meinders School of Business at N.W. 27th Street and McKinley Avenue. Islam Day at OCU falls in the midst of the holy month of Ramadan, which is celebrated this year from Aug. 11 to Sept. 9. Celebrated during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, more than 1 billion Muslims around the world fast from dawn until sunset each day. Political science professor and Middle East expert Mohamed Daadaoui organized a list of activities for students and faculty in order to foster cross-cultural dialogue and to spread awareness about the world’s second largest religion. “There are many misconceptions and stereotypical views about Islam,” Daadaoui said. “If we can show students and the OCU community what it means to be a Muslim, hopefully it will be a step in the direction of furthering goodwill and understanding.” Community organizations have partnered with OCU for some of the activities, including the panel discussion featuring Imad Enchassi, Imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, Sheryl Siddiqui, director of outreach at the Tulsa Islamic Center and Marjan Seirafi-Pour, vice chairwoman of the Governor’s Ethnic American Advisory Council. Daadaoui said he chose the discussion topic of women in Islam in hopes of creating a lively dialogue. “We wanted something more challenging to the panelists, a discussion that would appeal to those of other faiths and that shows the diversity of opinions within the Muslim faith,” he said. One of the campus-wide activities is called iFast, a volunteer effort where students, faculty and staff are encouraged to donate their lunch money to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. “Instead of spending money on lunch, donors will be contributing toward meals for the hungry,” he said, noting that Muslim followers are encouraged to donate to charitable causes during Ramadan.