Published On:19 March 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Cornell Establishes First Cultural Center For Muslim Students

By Jinjoo Lee

After spending about two years gaining University approval and securing a home, the Muslim community is celebrating the recent establishment of a Muslim cultural center — the first of its kind — at Cornell.

The center — which has been under consideration since 2010 — was established in January after “countless meetings” with several University administrators, according to Nayab Mahmood ’14, internal vice president of the Committee for the Advancement of Muslim Culture.
“We had to both convince them of the need for such a center and then convince them that it is a priority so that the logistics could be worked out,” she said.

Dean of Students Kent Hubbell ’67 said that although creating the center was "something [he] wanted to do from the outset," administrators "just had to find ways to do it." He added that “students who wanted to make this happen were wonderful. They were patient with us.”

Administrators and students said they began working on plans for the center at the beginning of the semester.

The space — which will be located in 208 Willard Straight Hall — will both “showcase [the] diversity of Muslim culture” and “provide support for anybody identifying with Muslim groups,” according to Ihsan Kabir ’14, president of CAMC, who took part in planning the center.

“The group will provide support for students with any kind of a Muslim background, regardless of whether or not they are practicing,” Kabir said, adding that “there are many students that show up to CAMC that don’t show up during Friday prayers.”

Furthermore, the space will be used to reach out to non-Muslim communities, students said.
“The Muslim Cultural Center can become a hub for non-Muslims to reach out and meet Muslims, humanizing the image of Islam on campus,” Mahmood said.Kabir said the CAMC has led outreach efforts to other communities on campus, holding dinner discussions with groups like Ga’avah — a Jewish LGBT group at Cornell — last semester and the Sigma Phi fraternity two weeks ago.

“Those [events] didn’t actually take place in the cultural center, but we’re already doing outreach events with groups that traditionally don’t affiliate with Muslims,” he said.Although the space is officially designated as a Muslim cultural center, it will not be fully available for use until next semester, because the space has been reserved by other student organizations for meetings, according to Kabir.

Mahmood said receiving the administration’s approval for the center was significant for the Muslim community.

“Getting the go-ahead for this center was huge. It means the administration really understands the needs of the Muslim community and is ready to work with us to make our community more diverse and inclusive,” she said.

Susan Murphy ’73 Ph.D. ’94, vice president for student and academic services, said the center plays a “symbolic role” for the Muslim community at Cornell.“It makes it very clear that we have a vibrant Muslim student community and a leadership we value,” she said.

(Courtesy: The Cornell Daily Sun)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on March 19, 2013. Filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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