Islam on Campus is a religious organization at the University of Florida that is dedicated to providing a safe space for Muslim students to practice their beliefs and establish a community. This club focuses on the social and educational aspects of the religion. They hold various events that are fun and informative for both members and non-Muslims alike.
This club works tirelessly to combat prejudices and islamophobia by educating others on what Islam is really about. “We try to remove stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslims, what we do and what we practice,” said Maria Ilyas, the club president.
Through the course of mid-October to mid-November, IOC hosts Islam Appreciation Month. The goal of this month-long celebration is to spread awareness and appreciation about Islam to people who are not Muslims. The group holds events with free food, free Henna tattoos, and Islam trivia. They also inhabit Turlington Plaza on campus to pass out flyers to everyone passing by. Other events are held to educate and welcome people who don’t identify as Muslim or those who do not know much about Islam.
Fast-A-Thon is another large event put on by Islam on Campus. They share a large three-course dinner and invite speakers to come talk about building an awareness of Muslims in the community. These short talks focus on what Muslims believe in and “how we can all work together to make the community, as a whole, better,” Ilyas said.
In addition to these many events and outreach efforts, IOC offers Friday services on campus for Muslim students to attend. Here is where the group participates in corporate religious practice.
Muslims are a minority at UF, Ilyas said. She explained how Islam on Campus led her to a group of other Muslims with whom she could develop community. IOC truly helped her feel at home and make friends with those who have the same beliefs as she. “It gives you a sense of connection and belonging that you don’t really find elsewhere, so that was really important to me,” Ilyas said.
See more information about IOC at http://www.islamoncampus.com/.