October 18, 2002

Forum Examines Islamic Women

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Ready to discuss an often controversial topic, about twenty women attended the program “Women of the Islamic Tradition” at the Women’s Community Building in Ithaca yesterday afternoon.

The event featured Essraa Abdelghany and Jarra Jange vet ’90, two Muslim women who spoke about their personal experiences and perceptions of Islam in America and around the world.

The moderator for the program, Michelle Courtney Barry M.S. ’92, began the program by explaining its purpose.

“There’s a lot in the news about Islam that colors our perceptions,” she said. “[We want to] create a dialogue for moving forward.”

Both speakers then introduced themselves, briefly describing their backgrounds. While Jange grew up in the West African country of Gambia and came to the United States as a student, Abdelghany was born and raised in Ithaca.

The discussion began with a question about the strength that each woman derives from her faith.

“For me, Islam is a unifying religion. There are people from so many cultures, so many backgrounds who are Muslim,” Jange answered. “It looks beyond race and nationality.”

Abdelghany agreed, and described the impact that Islam has made on her life.

“Many things I faced in my life