In the wake of escalating tension and prejudice throughout the country, MSU’s Muslim Student Association hosted an Islam Awareness Week to promote understanding of the religion to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Anti-Muslim assaults and hate crimes have reached peak levels, exceeding 2001’s rate, according to new data from the Pew Research Center. The FBI reported 127 assaults in 2016 as compared to 93 during the year of 9/11. Across the board, vandalism and intimidation against Muslims is also increasing. Islam Awareness Week spanned six days in early October and featured presentations from an imam, seminars about different branches of Muslims worldwide, and a talk on ISIS and how it perverts the Quran.
LANSING-Thasin Sardar first heard of the triple-murder in Chapel Hill, North Carolina through Twitter as he was about to conduct evening prayers before heading to bed. He originally assumed the tweets were about a separate incident involving Muslims at another university in North Carolina. It wasn’t until he awoke the next morning did he begin to see #MuslimsLivesMatter trending and news outlets covering the triple murder of Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha and her sister Razan. “It’s truly disheartening to see,” Sardar said, speaking on the tragedy of the murders themselves and the apparent silence from major media outlets for three days after the incident occurred. A community outreach volunteer at the Islamic Center of East Lansing, Sardar and his fellow imams at the center were reserved in their reaction to the killings.