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Carolina. The only instance of anti-Mus-
lim sentiment that warranted a response
from the MSA was a flyer posted on campus that listed passages from the Quran
out of context to portray Islam as a religion that promoted violence; it was
"There's just been such a positive
response. It's overwhelming;' said MSA
member Saba Maroof. Maroof was born in
North Carolina to a Pakistani father and
Indian mother, both physicians, but she also
has lived in Saudi Arabia and Michigan.
"So many groups have contacted the
MSA to co-sponsor activities with them. In
the Pit, we spontaneously set out some tables
this week just to raise awareness. We've had
so many people come and talk to us and
read the posters and ask interesting questions. No one's been rude to us; everyone's
been really open and understanding."
'Every action is going to be noticed'
The attacks sparked an interest at Carolina about Islam and about the students
here who practice it. More than 200
people attended a Sept. 17 forum on
understanding Islam - the event had to
be moved to a larger room.
The sudden attention to students who
wear the Muslim hijab along with the
Chapel Hill backpack has been keeping
them busy in their broadened roles as
ambassadors of their faith and culture.
Zayed, who is applying to medical schools
and sometimes spends 60 hours a week
researching breast cancer in the
Lineberger Cancer Research Center for
his honors thesis, already was frequently
up until 3 a.m. He and others added a
series of forums and staffed an informa-
tion table in the Pit.
For years, the MSA has conducted
awareness presentations in dorms and area
high schools, and it sponsors an annual
Islamic Week. The Arab Club and the Persian Club both put on events to illuminate
the food, dance and arts in some of the
world's predominantly Islamic countries.
Now, as they explain to one crowd of
listeners after another that the very word
"Islam" is derived from the Arabic word
Sophomore Fareed Hussain greets a visitor to the Muslim Students Association information table in the Pit.
Senior Mohammed Zayed, above, remembers cold shoulders as a middle schooler during Desert Storm.
Senior Hani Alkhaldi is president of the Arab Club, some of whose members are Muslim, some not.