Tag Archives: usf pool

Students Examine History and Evolution of Black Muslims

Black Muslim2

Written by Rita McNeil and Sarah Rewers

The USF student body is composed of nearly 10,000 students from about 80 countries around the world. Despite the vast diversity, many students often find their ethnic identity lost in a sea of culture. The USF Muslim Student Association (MSA) sought to help fellow students of all backgrounds conceptualize the history of black Muslims by hosting a discussion on their presence in Western society last Wednesday.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Muslim religion, the concept of black Muslims may be somewhat vague. “We have to understand race as a social construct before we can understand the concept of a black Muslim,” said Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, professor of Islamic Law and Hadith Science at Zaytuna College in Berkeley. Ali argued that race is a societal development rather than a biological fact, which speaks to the notion that Muslims are not solely tied to the religion of Islam, but can be defined based on a number of  factors —  some not so good.

According to Ali, Westerners often view Muslims and associate them with violence, which is in large part due to the events surrounding the 9/11 attack. In addition, these incorrect stereotypes are bolstered perhaps due to the pre-Islamic period when Arabs came in contact with Africans. When Africans were brought to the Americas as slaves, not everyone could differentiate them from Muslims who lived in Africa, so they were almost considered one in the same. Ali also said that being black and Muslim in America can be challenging to understand historically because their history is “still being written.”

The MSA hosted this event in honor of Islam Awareness Week, which was March 11-17, and in hopes of clearing some of the misconceptions that surround the Muslim race.

Ali commented that the concept was a controversy in and of itself, due to the implication of the term, “black Muslim.” One can obviously be black and not Muslim, and vice versa, he explained. Ali also analyzed the word “Arab,” noting that to simply define it as ‘one who speaks Arabic’ has had major implications on what it means to be Arab today. “Anyone can become an Arab, but not just anyone can become a White,” he said, touching on his belief that society is divided by race. Questions on this concept are difficult to answer because various members of society have differing views.

However, USF students appear to care less about the answers, and more about getting these questions out into the public discourse. Sara Masoud, a junior international studies major, spoke to the importance of bringing topics like race, language, and culture into consciousness. “Islam Awareness Week is a way to spread awareness about the religion because it is so misunderstood, especially post 9/11,” she said. Masoud added that for Muslims on campus, “It’s a great way for them to learn more about their own religion.”

“I am appreciative for the MSA and all the hard work they are doing for Islam Awareness Week because it’s always important to educate the student body on different cultures present on the USF campus,” said Sophia Revelli, a junior communications studies major who is learning about Muslim culture.

Ali took the rest of the night to provide a historical context, from the very beginning of free life for immigrants with the Naturalization Act of 1790 to the construction of a United Nation of Islam in 1993. He also identified prominent figures in the history of African Americans, including Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr., who both supported and practiced social integration. Before Ali joined fellow Muslims in the room for evening prayer, he concluded by stating that all of this history — along with the way society views and defines certain races — reinforces the belief that “race is not just a conception; it is also a perception.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the Islam religion or the history of Muslims, consider signing up for one of these classes this fall semester: Introduction to Islam (Theology) offered 3:30-4:35 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; or Islam-ic Empires (History) 6:30-8:15 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.

This V-Day Put Down the Ice Cream and Get Swimmin’

For all the swimmers and water lovers out there, Valentine’s Day is sure to bring you a sweet surprise. In addition to flowers and chocolate, avid gym goers will also be able to enjoy the Koret pool which will be ready to open its doors again in a few short weeks.

The pool is on schedule to open on Feb. 14, said Clare Rudd, aquatics instructor at the Koret Health and Recreation Center. After months of construction, the secret to keeping this anticipated re-opening on track was the constant work schedule of the contractors.

While many USF students enjoyed a nice, long six-week winter break, Rudd said that the Koret pool workers only took off Christmas and New Year’s Day and worked consistently through the break. The pool area has been painted and re-tiled, scaffolds are gone, and the old ceiling lights have been replaced, according to Rudd.

Naturally, people have been curious about the progress of construction. Rudd said that some onlookers often asked questions about the status of the project, while others have been completely oblivious to the large-scale construction project. “We have had people walk all the way down not noticing the construction or the signs,” she said.

No major issues were presented during the process and everything is on schedule.

A Guide to Super Bowl Sunday in San Francisco

Superbowl XLVII is this Sunday, February 3rd, at 3:30p.m.PT,

and our very own San Francisco49ers will be facing off against the Baltimore Ravens. San Franciscans will be representing the 49ers by wearing Gold and Scarlet as they root for their team in the battle takingplace at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. It’s going to be a great game with lots of excitement, from the ridiculously expensive commercials to a grand half timeshow. Here are a few tips for the big day:

First and foremost make sure you have some apparel that represents the 49ers team colors, such as a t-shirt or a 49ers hat!

Be sure to get a group of people together and go somewhere fun and social for the game. I would recommend figuring out where you’re going ahead of time. Don’t forget that the city is going to be patriotic and energetic therefore the bars, bart, and busesare going to be completely packed. Plan ahead to leave at least an hour before thegame, so you don’t miss the national anthem and start of the game.

Travel light. Do not bring too many jackets or purses because places are going to be packed. You won’t find anywhere to put them, and you definitely do not want anything to be stolen.

Be mindful of your surroundings! A lot of people take advantage of days like this because you’re going to be busy having fun, and no one will be supervising you or your belongings.

BE CAREFUL. There are lots of fun activities to do around the city, but it’s important to have fun in a safe and respectable manner.