IWU builds connections to Blono’s Muslim community

By Farah Bassyouni Oct 7, 2022

Illinois Wesleyan’s Office of Multifaith Engagement has worked on establishing relations with the Islamic Center of Mclean County for the Muslim students of Illinois Wesleyan. ICMC was invited for a meet and greet and the organization invited students to attend a guest speaker event and potluck on Friday, October 7. 

“I am excited for our Muslim students to have access to members of the community that help them feel more connected to life at home,” International Student Director Jessica Mrase said. 

While IWU does try to have a big feast during the first day of Ramadan each year, Muslim students have been requesting more involvement on campus for religious holidays, Friday prayers and community gatherings. 

“I would hope for there to be more recognition for Muslim students and to grow our community on campus,” Junior Asyah Hussein said. 

Recently, after advocacy from Muslim students on campus, Dining Services regularly offers Halal food in the Simple Servings portion of the dining hall. 

“I have been impressed with the recent response to acknowledge the voices of Muslim students, and I’m excited to support building relationships for Muslim students with the members of the Bloomington-Normal community,” Mrase said. 

A majority of the Muslim students on campus are international students, who spend important holidays like Ramadan and Eid away from home. The Office of Multifaith Engagement’s initiative with ICMC provides hope for students to celebrate with the town during those sacred times. 

“When we are in college away from our families and the traditions we may be fond of, it saddens us to know we have to spend it alone,” Hussein said. “By having other Muslims with you, it brings an opportunity not only to make new connections and friends, but also enjoy Ramadan and Eid as they’re meant to be enjoyed.” 

The potluck at ICMC will feature a halaqa, or a religious gathering to study Islam, where IWU Muslim students can enjoy food and meet other Muslims outside campus.

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