Project Nur celebrates Islamic holiday Eid-al-Adha


Rachel Wang

Students from Arabic language classes dressed up in traditional clothing and danced in the Campus Center on Oct. 8.

Project Nur, Allegheny’s Islamic Awareness group, put on a celebration of Eid-al-Adha in the Campus Center lobby on Oct. 8, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Eid-al-Adha, also known as the “Festival of the Sacrifice,” occurs in the Islamic calendar month of “Dhul al Hiijah” (Possessor of the Pilgrimage).
Kat Goodman, ’15, president of Project Nur, planned the event along with Project Nur’s executive board and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. This year, she collaborated with the students from the first and second level Arabic classes to present a Yemeni wedding celebration. With the help of Salah Algabli, the Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant from Yemen, the students dressed in vibrant traditional costume and danced to a variety of Arabic songs.
Rehenuma Asmi, assistant professor of international studies, was invited by Goodman to give a short presentation about the historical and religious significance of the festival.
“Eid-al-Adha marks the end of the pilgrimage that is required for Muslims to conduct once in a lifetime,” said Asmi. Celebrated in different countries, the devotees traditionally will sacrifice a sheep as a remembrance of the sacrifice of prophet Ibrahim to fulfill the wishes of God. One-third of the sacrificed meat will be distributed to the family, one-third to friends and the remaining 1one-third will be given to the poor. It brings forth many symbolic representations which include the devotees’ willingness to give up things that are of value or close to them and commemorates the prophet Ibrahim’s troubles and hardships and his obedience to God.
Asmi also shared her experiences when she first arrived at Allegheny College in August 2013. She mentioned the struggle of being new to the area and how Meadville has few ethnic groups. However, she hopes events like this one will allow people to get to know one another and learn more about Muslim culture and religion.
“The event also showed people coming from different background and tradition to celebrate with their fellow Muslim students and faculty. It is very nice to see that kind of community being displayed. It feels a little bit like home,” she said.
Many students were excited for the celebration as they gathered for the food, music, performance and the cultural experiences.
“It is very cool to see them all dressed up. I get to learn about the culture as I did not know much about Arabic culture before. They should have similar events for different cultures to teach everyone else,” said Karla Atcheson, ’18.
Goodman reminded us that gatherings such as Eid-al-Adha promote a hospitable relationship between Muslim and non-Muslim members of the Allegheny community. These experiences encourage diversity and religious tolerance among the student body.
“It is hard to do events, but the payoff is when I see people enjoying themselves, being exciting for the food and performance,” Goodman.
Any students who are interested in finding out more about Project Nur can go to Friday prayers and discussion at the Prayer and Meditation House, by Arter, from 12 to 1:30 p.m.