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Islam Awareness At Hudson Valley

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 210-4161
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Friday, November 15, 2002

In celebration of Islam Awareness Week, Hudson Valley Community College's Muslim Student Association will offer a series of events beginning on Monday, November 18. The events are aimed at teaching Hudson Valley's students about Islam.

The event schedule is as follows:

  • Monday, November 18 through Wednesday, November 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, on the first floor of the Siek Campus Center – "Islam 101." Booklets explaining Islam will be available and students will be invited to ask questions. There also will be videos about Islam and a henna tattoo table, where students can experience an art form that dates back 5,000 years.
  • Monday, November 18 in the Bulmer Telecommunication Center's auditorium – "Empire of Faith," a documentary exploring the history of Islam. The documentary is approximately an hour long, and there will be three showings (11 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.).
  • Thursday, November 21, from 3 to 7 p.m., in the dining hall of the Siek Campus Center (second floor) – "A Taste of Islam." The culmination of Hudson Valley's Islam Awareness Week celebration, this event will include guest speakers, including Djafer Sebkhaoui, Imam of the Troy mosque, who will lecture on Islam. There also will be a Muslim prayer session, which all students are welcome to observe, and the event will conclude with a free dinner. Traditional Eastern food will be served.

Led by President Sohaib Chekima, Hudson Valley's Muslim Student Association is 38 students strong. The club teaches an Arabic class, which is open to all students; conducts weekly meetings to study religion; and prays five times daily in the college's Marvin Library.

A Computer Information Systems major, Chekima was born in the United States but spent much of his childhood in Algeria. After living in Malaysia for six years, the 20-year-old returned to the United States in 2002. He came alone, but because of the outreach of the Muslim community, he says he has not battled homesickness. A first-year student at Hudson Valley, he hopes to pursue a computer programming career upon his graduation.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 50 degree and certification programs in four academic divisions: Liberal Arts and Sciences; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Business; as well as programs run through the Educational Opportunity Center offering certification programs in workforce and academic preparation. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 11,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has graduated more than 55,000 students, and nearly 75 percent of those graduates live in the Capital Region.