First Talk of the “My Neighbor is Muslim” Series Sparks Community Interest

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By Miranda Feeley, Staff Writer

The newly-formed Muslim Student Association’s series of talks by Rukhsana Rahman and Athar Rafik entitled “My Neighbor is Muslim” began September 20th in CUB 260 at 5:30 pm.

Niamate Leeper, the faculty advisor for the Association, spoke first and asserted that the club has “A responsibility to open a much-needed dialogue about Islam in our community.” She introduced Kristin Largen, who thanked both Leeper and Maihan Wali ‘18, the current president of the Muslim Student Association. Wali and Khadijah Barry ‘21 both spoke about welcoming minority students and encouraging more diversity on campus.

Rukhsana Rahman and Athar Rafik are a married couple from the area, both of whom are immigrants. Rahman works as a Radiologist at Gettysburg Hospital, and Rafik teaches Cybersecurity at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The subject of this talk, the first of three, was “The Pillars of Islam.” They covered the pillars alternately, with Rafik speaking about worshipping God, or Allah, giving charity, and the optional pillar of making the Hajj. Rahman spoke about saying the five daily prayers and fasting during Ramadan. However, both speakers contributed to all the sections, providing personal anecdotes that showed how they observed the pillars in their daily lives. Both spoke about their son’s firing from his dream job at Amazon, and how they gave thanks to Allah for this because they believe he ordains everything and thus their son’s job loss meant there was something else he was meant to do.

After their talk, there was a short Q&A session for the audience, which included members of the surrounding community as well as Gettysburg students.

The next talk will be on October 18th in CUB 260 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm, on the topic of “Contemporary Challenges Facing Muslims.”

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Author: Miranda Feeley

Miranda Feeley '21 is an English Major from Highland Mills, NY, who enjoys writing, painting, and watching Star Trek. On-campus, she is involved with The Gettysburgian, as well as Outerspace and Hillel. She also enjoys shopping for pens, and always wants to meet new people. She can be found on twitter @alt_apostrophe.

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