Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
SMU’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) usually brings together just SMU students for fun and social activities. Last weekend, MSA brought four north Texas schools together for “Eid, Pray, Love,” an event celebrating the end of a Muslim holiday.
The inaugural event celebrated Eid-al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of fasting Ramadan. The evening consisted of a banquet followed by entertainment and a film festival. “Eid, Pray, Love” took place Saturday inside the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.
The SMU MSA invited the University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at Arlington, University of North Texas and Collin College. Two UTD graduates, Nimesh Patel and Farhan Anwar, amused the audience of more than three hundred with jokes as they emceed the film festival, the most awaited part of the event.
Only three schools submitted their films into the competition. Out of the eight awards presented, SMU and UTD each won three. But UTA ended up winning the most coveted award for “Best Picture.”
“Even though SMU organized the event, the rest of the schools were essential in putting it together, making the event [about] teamwork too,” MSA President Zain Rizvi said.
UTA contacted all the guest speakers, UTD donated the trophies and the goody bags, UNT organized the icebreakers, and Collin College provided the food for the banquet.
The atmosphere of the evening was very colorful and tolerant. Students of any religion were welcomed in the event to learn about Muslim culture, the ultimate goal of the event. Those involved hoped “Eid, Pray, Love” helped other cultures better understand Islam.
“Anybody from any religion should come, is a good way to learn about different cultures, bring MSAs from other schools together and meet other Muslims,” UTD sophomore Sheeren Ibtesam said.
Doors opened at 5:30 p.m. sharp for registration. Early attendees had time to socialize before the event officially started around 7:20 p.m.
Rizvi welcomed the students and introduced the featured entertainment of the night, Fez Meghani and Aftab Ali, a famous Arabic duet. Meghani and Ali performed two songs.
Right after their performance, some guests opted to go to a prayer room before the banquet. After praying, the invitees headed back to the ballrooms to begin eating.
While people ate, Imam of the Mesquite Mosque and Harvard doctoral student Abdul Atif Abuzaid spoke about some Islamic precepts and the shared measures between all three Abrahamic faiths. His lecture reflected his noteworthy scholarship as a professor at the Suffa Islamic Seminary.
SMU’s MSA hopes to host “Eid, Pray, Love” every year to bring all MSAs in Texas together. The groups will meet again at an annual showdown in the spring. For Rizvi, it is very important to make connections with other organizations inside and outside the university.
He has plans to include more Texas universities in the event next year. While five local schools attended the event on Saturday, the MSA is working to ensure that the University of Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Texas State, Texas Tech and Rice University attend the event next year.
“We have good ideas, but we tend to localize. If we get together and make connections, they can become great ideas and make great things happen.”