The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday December 2nd

Event Highlights Muslim Solidarity

Solidarity movement attendees expressed the importance of appreciation for the Islamic faith to prevent hate and violence.

The Muslim Solidarity Event was sponsored by the Campus Y, the Muslim Student Association and student government.

Students were given free blue and red hijabs -- scarves -- and white kufis -- prayer caps -- to wear as symbols of support.

The event began with students forming a human circle around a microphone, where a banner printed with the words "UNC Muslim Solidarity" hung.

The first speaker was Nadia Siddiqui, president of the MSA, who gave a few brief remarks about the purpose of the event.

"We're showing symbolic support for Muslims here and Muslims everywhere," she said.

Melissa Exum, dean of students, spoke about safety for Muslims at UNC and in the Chapel Hill community. She said 911 phones that connect directly to the police department are available for students if they feel they need them.

Nouman Siddiqui, a Muslim and a resident at Duke University Medical Center, spoke about the importance of understanding Islam.

Nouman said learning about Islam is crucial because ignorance breeds hate, anger and violence.

"We have to understand Islam," he said. "It's now an emergency."

Nouman said that belief in one God is the basis for Islam and that there is nothing strange or foreign about the religion. "Islam is not an `over there' phenomenon," he said.

After an open microphone session in which students were able to share their views, the event concluded with a performance of "Lean on Me" by the Achordants, a UNC a cappella group.

Students who attended the event said they came to encourage compassion for Muslims and to gain understanding about Islam.

Marissa Olson, a senior public policy major, said she came because her best friend is Muslim and she wanted to show her support.

Olson said she thought the event went well and more should be held in the future. "I think more open forums like this would be beneficial," she said. "It would lessen fear, ignorance, and hate."

Student Body President Justin Young also attended the event and wore a kufi. "It was really important to me to show my support," he said.

In her speech, Exum said people need to confront ignorance with information. "There is no place for hate in this University community," she said. "Together we can and will make a difference."

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