Belk Library awarded books and films with Muslim Journeys grant

Joshua Farmer

Belk Library and Information Commons has been awarded the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys grant.

The grant is $2,500 worth of materials, including books, films and the Oxford Islamic studies database, said librarian Allan Scherlen, who applied for the grant.

The purpose of the grant is “to help educate,” Scherlen said.

“People hear negative things about Muslim people, some people have prejudices because of extreme views they hear in the news,” Scherlen said. “What we do at universities is to educate people and increase their awareness about cultures and people that they don’t know about.”

Part of the stipulation of the grant is to host public events around the materials such as showing films or reading the books with an expert to lead discussion. The library will work in conjunction with the Humanities Council and Muslim Student Association to put the events together, Scherlen said.

“We have all these experts in the area as well as in the region who can discuss various aspects of different kinds of Muslim cultures because really we are talking about a wide rang of cultures,” Scherlen said.

“I think there is a growing interest in wanting to have more resources to understand the world around them,” Scherlen said.

President of the Muslim Student Association Lena Aloumari said the Muslim Journey’s grant is something that is near and dear to the cause of the club.

“We want to increase awareness in the community not just on campus and we have been doing that so far just by hosting events and having discussions,” Aloumari said.

Aloumari said the group will help plan film and discussion panels or a student book club and the group will be able to chose what movies and books of which they will take charge.

“We have access to all this material and we can do more with it, like take the ball and run with it,” Aloumari said.

The fact that they have a variety of resources, that is going to make the difference because not everyone who likes to read likes to watch movies and vice versa said Aloumari.

“I think it would be relatable to a lot of people this way,” she said.

Aloumari said because the grant is year-long, meaning it will last this semester, summer semester and fall semester, the library is planning on having a book club and book discussions at the public library this summer while students are home.

Story: STEPHANIE SANSOUCY, Senior News Reporter