Last night NFL player Hamza Abdullah ushered in Shuruq, an annual student-run theme month club held from March 25 to April 17.
Founded in 2002, Shuruq tries to bring light to the diversity of life, culture and politics throughout the Muslim world. Through various events, the group discus the debate surrounding Islam and the Muslim world and gives a voice to the Muslim community within NYU and New York City community.
“The goals of the Shuruq events are to celebrate Muslim identity and foster understanding amongst people of all backgrounds and faiths,” said CAS junior and junior chair of Shuruq Asma Imam.
“We are excited to reach out to others beyond the community at Islamic Center at NYU.”
Hamza Abdullah, the featured guest of last night’s kickoff dinner, played on the Arizona Cardinals and came to NYU to discuss his experience and journey as a Muslim NFL player.
“The number one thing that sports teaches you is the relationship. It teaches you about not discounting your opponent. So if you see a white, black, Hispanic, Arab, Indian guy it doesn’t matter, you get on that field [and] your object is to win or lose,” said Abdullah.
“You have to work together with your team to gain the victory. It doesn’t matter if I am sitting there with a Christian or Jewish man, we have to work together. That’s what I love about sports.”
After his compelling speech, Abdullah opened up the floor for questions from the audience. The audience was able to ask Abdullah questions about his NFL career and his decision to take a year off to fulfill his Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims take once in their lifetime.
“I came to this event in order to learn about the experience of Hamza Abdullah and his Hajj. I have learned a lot from my Islamic societies class about Islam and thought it would be interesting to see a Muslim practicing athlete,” said CAS freshman Anteneh Moges.
Future events for Shuruq include Islam 101, where attendees can ask NYU’s Muslim Chaplain Imam Khalid Latif any questions they have about Muslims or Islam, Hijabathon: A Day As a Hijabi, where people can experiment wearing a hijab and share their experiences over dinner, and Tastes of The Muslim Palate, which showcases the diversity of ethnic backgrounds of Muslims through cuisine.
“We try to hold events which will appeal to everyone’s interests—whether it be sports, poetry, comedy, music, social issues or just food,” said CAS senior and senior chair of Shuruq Saba Gill.
There will also be appearances by female rights activist Maryam Ramadan, gang violence “interrupter” Ameena Matthews and comedian Dean Obeidallah.
“These individuals showcase the diversity of this month, which we hope everyone can benefit from,” said Gill.
Neela Qadir is deputy university editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.