Recent events in the Middle East have inspired international attention, and even trickled down to incite action from students. This includes a vigil that was hosted on Z-Green by the Middle East Interest Club.
“[The] Middle East Interest Club is a new student organization that aims to take up the mantel of presenting the history, culture and traditions of the Middle East,” first-year Loureen Sayej said. “Most often, the Middle East is misrepresented and especially on college campuses. Here, at New College, students are willing and more open to other perspectives. It is a culturally inclusive community.”
The Middle East Interest Club invited Students Targeting Oppressive Powers (STOP) and Hillel to participate in the vigil by collecting stories from victims of violence at the hands of D’aesh, also known as ISIS, in countries such as Syria and Iraq.
“Millions have been displaced, thousands beheaded and murdered,” Sayej said. “Journalists, children, women and men of all religions and all races. Our main goal is to convey the message that D’aesh does not represent a faith or ethnicity. Middle East Interest Club seeks to break the stereotypes about our people through such activities.”
After stories were shared, members of the Middle East Interest Club and Hillel recited prayers from the Torah and Quran. There was also a discussion about dismantling stereotypes concerning Middle Eastern individuals and the idea that the D’aesh are representative of the collective culture and beliefs of every Arab person.
“The turnout was good, since it is also our first event,” Sayej continued.
The Middle East Interest Club has more events planned for the future. Students can get involved with the club by attending the Arabic tutorial held twice a week in the library or by joining their Facebook group.