Last night the Muslim Students Association held its annual Eid Banquet in the James Room at Barnard. Bwog correspondent Sumaiya Ahmed was there:

As MSA President Omar Siddiqi C’09, said at this year’s Eid Banquet, Muslims only have two holidays per year, so they try to make the most of them. At times, though, this can be difficult. This year, for example, Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, fell on the Monday of October 23rd. Some students found themselves waking up early to join the prayer congregation at the masjid downtown and coming back to campus in time for midterms.

Last night’s banquet, as Adil Ahmed C’09, a member of the MSA executive board, said in his opening remarks, allowed “Muslims and non-Muslims, hijabis and non-hijabis, the bearded and non-bearded” an opportunity to celebrate the holiday as a campus community. There was little chatter during the South Asian meal because the food was so good. After dinner, in keeping with the theme, “Being Muslim at Columbia,” two women shared their winning entries for the banquet’s essay contest…

After the jump: the essays, skits, and thoughts on teaching the Qu’ran in CC…

Duha Mohiuddin C’07 shared an account of her experience as a Muslim in a class on anti-Semitism at Columbia and how she has had to struggle with the assumption that Muslims cannot be objective about their own religion. Jeanette, a student in a one-year program at the School of Social Work, recently converted to Islam and spoke about how she has only known what it is like to be a Muslim at Columbia.

In a skit about a Muslim first-year trying to find out about the MSA, the organization bared its willingness to satirize its own community. A poor first-year had to go through meeting the “Muslim nerd” in front of Butler who barely had a minute to spare before he went off to solve his next proof, the “Muslim Thug” in Carman, the “Spy” hanging out in Lerner, the “Extremist” in Earl Hall, the “Overly Excited Hijabi” at the bookstore, and the “MSA hater” in line at Starbucks before he finally met the “Normal Muslim Guy” on Low Steps. Somewhat exaggerated, though necessary, was the skit about reading the Qur’an for CC. It made light of there being always that one Muslim student in the class who has to take on the responsibility of clarifying any misconceptions, as well as the professor who has no idea what he’s saying:

“Excuse me, Professor,” a student in the skit said, “but I see ‘we’ all over the Koran and this is supposed to be the word of God –– but if the voice is constantly saying ‘we,’ doesn’t that suggest this is a polytheistic religion?”

“Hmm,” said the professor, bringing his hand to his chin. “The ‘we’ must signify the Trinity. You know, Allah, Muhammad, and….”

The MSA is working with the administration to insure better training for teachers in preparation for teaching the Qur’an. “We’re hoping we won’t have to do this skit next year,” said Ahmed.