By Ghadeer Alaradi
The University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) and Students for Islamic Awareness (SIA) hosted Sushi: Bridging the Gap between Sunni and Shia on campus on Monday, Sept. 29.
The event’s purpose was to bring students from different sects together and to emphasize the similarities in a relaxed environment, while having discussions and eating sushi.
MSA and SIA are two different Islamic organizations on campus; one following the Sunni school of thought, and the other following the Shia ideology. Both student orgs decided to hold an event bridging the two organizations together and thought it was important despite the growing sectarianism in the middle-eastern world.
The event started off with the serving of sushi, with a background of relaxing authentic Japanese music.
“I’ve heard about this event from a friend of mine that goes to Wayne State University,” said Tuqa Alfatlawi, a University of Michigan-Dearborn student.
With all the conflicts in the middle-east, Alfatlawi thinks unionization is a must.
“With all the misunderstanding in the Middle East, I think it’s important to promote unity. It shows people that we’re standing together as one,” she said.
Sawsan Edriss, a student from Wayne State University, said she heard about the event from the MSA on her campus.
“Some people can be ignorant about each other’s beliefs, so it’s important to keep a dialogue between Muslims in order to stand together,” said Edriss.
MSA President Mariam Asadullah thinks that when two sects of Islam exist side by side, similarities can be made.
She says “Displaying unity between the Sunnis and Shi’as is important because when we show everyone that we’re more alike than different, so many of our fundamentals line up.”
Asadullah continues giving attention to the conflicts in the middle-east.
“By having relaxed sessions like this Sushi event, with conversation and discussion surrounding the similarities, it shows people that we are not like those fighting out there for all the wrong reasons in the Middle East . That’s the image I want to portray.”
“The image of Islam we would like to portray is the one embodied by the Prophet Muhammad and his family, which is logical and does not coerce,” said Aly Lakhani, the president of SIA. “It embraces other ideologies, schools of thought and even other religions.”
“This is just the beginning, there will definitely be more collaborations with the Muslim Student Association in the future, and we look forward to working with them!” said Lakhani.