Updated: Jul 30, 2020
While Eid al-Adha was celebrated by the world on August 10th & 11th, festivities at Elon occurred on September 19th. Before coming back to campus or even meeting others in my cohort, I opted to be the Intern Leader for our first festival of the year, Eid al-Adha. Going into the preliminary planning stages, I was incredibly nervous about executing an event for a religion that I had limited working knowledge of. For those of you who don’t know, Eid al-Adha, which takes place at the end of Ramadan, is the Celebration of the Sacrifice. Chapter 37 of the Qur’an tells the story of Abraham. God spoke to Abraham and told him to sacrifice his son, Issac. Instead, Abraham opted to sacrifice a sheep in place of his son.
The month before the event flew by in the midst of planning, starting my senior year, and applying for post-grad opportunities. I had at least two meetings with Elon’s Imam, Shane Atkinson per week, and I thoroughly enjoyed every meeting with him. Shane is an incredibly authentic and wise person with a great sense of humor. Whenever I left his office, I always walked away with new-found knowledge and appreciation for Islam.
One week before the event, I attended MusliMedia at the Burlington Masjid with two other interns, Caroline Pennfield, and Liz Crouse. This event was planned by Elon Residence Life and the Burlington Masjid to discuss how Muslims and their religion are portrayed in the media. There, I was able to engage with multiple members of Burlington’s Muslim community. This was only my second time ever going to a mosque, so I was a bit nervous about what to expect, especially with such a heavy topic. The community was incredibly warm, welcoming, and supportive of one another. When I told them about our Eid Celebration, everyone was wicked excited to come with their friends and families!
On the day of the event, I was scared that the event would have a poor turnout. Looking back, this worry had no basis; I worked hard with an incredibly supportive team from the Truitt Center and greater Elon community. Going up to the podium in the front of McBride and seeing a sea of friendly and new faces was a rush. The entire room was decorated in traditional black and gold with arabian music playing in the background. Seeing how engaged students were with the opening presentation about Islam and Eid was rewarding; I loved knowing that people were walking away with new-found knowledge. At the end of the event, my heart was so full of all the wonderful interactions I had with professors, friends (old and new), and members of the Masjid community.
An older woman approached me before leaving for the evening and said I did a wonderful job and that she hoped to see me at the Masjid soon. Shaher, the prayer leader for the Masjid, echoed this to me after he leads evening prayers. To feel this outpouring of love and support from others was reassuring. Needless to say, I am looking forward to seeing where this internship will take me next and what I will learn along the way.
Love & light,
P.S. If you attended the event, please fill out this brief survey; I promise it won’t take more than three minutes! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1dgo9DTPw-tGHNXPgMTyriUIuia7MBLwwnnj0xX5tqOA/prefill