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Living Islam at UNC-Chapel Hill

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Published on Apr 15, 2010

The UNC Muslim Students Association (MSA) is a religious, social and outreach student organization that aims to network the Muslim students on campus and to serve as their voice in the student community. MSA also reaches out to the larger student body in interfaith cooperation and works with other organizations to ring about positive change on the UNC campus.

Outside of an active agenda that includes Ramadan iftars (dinners), prayer room services and weekly educational meetings, the MSA is host to larger annual events such as Sportsfest (January), the Muslim-Jewish Artsfest (Spring) and Fast-a-thon (September).

"The University of North Carolina has about 200 Muslim students," said MSA President Sana Khan.

In Chapel Hill, no survey has been conducted to measure the accurate number of Muslims, but many guess there are a few hundred Muslims in the town who call Chapel Hill their home.

"Unfortunately, there is no mosque in Chapel Hill now," said Khan. "Chapel Hill Muslim community is now considering some locations to establish a permanent house of worship for Muslims of Chapel Hill."

Every week, Muslim students go to UNC-Hospitals main building, where they offer their weekly Jumu'ah prayers. Because Jumu'ah prayer is an obligatory congregational prayer upon Muslim community, every Friday Muslims worship at All Faiths Chapel of UNC-Hospitals.

"We are also in dialogue with the Quaker Community of Chapel Hill who have offered us the use of their beautiful facilities (right next to UNC campus) for Jumu'ah Prayers and possibly Saturday nights, which could be used to holding a potluck dinner, holding lessons on topics dealing with Islam and the community, among other activities," said Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim Chaplain at Duke University, who is closely working with Chapel Hill Muslim community in its mosque project.

"We envision a mosque that would be accessible to both local community members and students alike, where the two groups could interact and learn from each other," said Imam Antepli. "We would like to engage in deep interfaith conversations and dialogue and to establish meaningful ties with other Chapel Hill community members of other faiths and backgrounds and to let our presence be known to residents of the Greater Chapel Hill area."

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