Hear from School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences Rep, Aisha, about her Instagram Q&A for IAM, her rep role and plans for the year.
Tell us a bit about yourself (name, what you study, any other relevant information)
Hi my name is Aisha Qadi, I am a 2nd year undergraduate Psychology student and I am also the School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences (previously called the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences) representative at QMUL. I also work very closely within the QMSU in several societies as well as the student council.
Can you tell us a bit more about your event?
I will be doing an Instagram Q&A takeover from the QMSU account, where all students and staff at QMUL and QMSU are able to ask any questions they wanted to know about Islam and Muslims and why we do the things we do. Whether you want to know about our views on a topic, or our culture, traditions and celebration, if you were always too afraid to ask, or always had an assumption, now is you’re chance to ask away to get answers!
I am also currently looking for about 5-6 volunteer Muslim students or QMSU officers, who are willing to share the panel with me on answering the questions with your own thoughts and views too on the Instagram takeover. If you’d like to participate, fill out the Microsoft form on the students union Instagram bio which will be on linktree, and I will be selecting 5-6 of you. The link will also be on the QMSU website as well as their regular newsletters sent out via email
Why did you decide to organise an event for Islamophobia Awareness Month?
With my own personal experience, many people often have been too afraid to ask me questions about my religion or thoughts and views of certain topics thinking that I would get extremely offended. When in reality, I find it very appreciative when someone takes their time to learn and ask me questions about Islam and Muslims, as well as how I live my life and what rules I follow by, rather than just assuming things and going by stereotypes on our religion. I hardly take anything to an offence! :)
Why is it important to raise awareness about Islamophobia?
Muslims are often very stereotyped and judged in a more negative aspect, especially due to the way media and the news portray us as. However, what people don’t realise is our religion “Islam” is the literal translation of “peace”, and in our religion, as part of our faith, it is obligatory to always be respectful and peaceful to people, help the community and our Ummah, help animals, give charity, become a role model to future generations of Muslims, and to never judge one another.
What can we do as a community to combat Islamophobia?
Just by starting small, speak to a Muslim friend you know or start a conversation with someone who is Muslim on their thoughts and views about the way they live their life. The best way to do this is through your university or school, as university is the place to find such a diverse range of students of many wonderful religions and cultural backgrounds. You’ll never know, you might end up in a wonderful relatable conversation, and they might just be your best friend one day!
What are you looking most forward to about IAM?
I hope that with this whole month and all the events taking place, students would have all their thoughts and questions answered and gain a deeper insight and a positive perception into our religion and how Muslims are, as well as the many cultural traditions and lifestyle we have in so many countries. To all the Muslims who have had a bad experience due to islamophobia, I hope you know that, not just our Islamic community, but also this university and the Students Union is here for you at any time , and I hope that you are all comfortable enough to talk to us anytime regarding your experience. You are not alone, and this is never tolerated. Sometimes sharing your experience, you never know, could be helping others open up as well.
You’re the School Rep for SBBS this year – can you tell us a bit about the role and your plans for the year?
As a school rep, I voice & represent over 3000+ students across 10 undergraduate degree programmes & courses within the school of Biological & Behavioural Sciences (SBBS). This means that I work with the QMUL and QMSU staff, students union officers, as well as course reps and course reps to listen to your thoughts, and suggestions and anything you would like to change within the SBBS which allows me to implement as much change and improvement I can for the school to give you a better social and academic university life.
I’ve already started on a lot of my manifesto projects, including sending out a weekly email newsletter which includes all the weekly information going on at QMUL and QMSU, as well as lots of society promotions. There is also an engagement section, via answering questions of the week, as I love to engage with as many of you as possible.
I am also working to creating networking events within the school, and hoping to collaborate with other school representatives and executive officers with several workshop and events so that you are able to get to know students, staff and representatives from all schools, and feel comfortable at Queen Mary.