One NYU event Friday night was hotter than expected.

When a tray caught fire at Shuruq, an annual event meant to raise awareness about Islam, people scurried to the back of the auditorium and the wisecracks began.

“Trust the smoke to come from the only Muslim event in the building,” joked Asma Shikoh, an artist whose work revolves around the theme of the “hijab,” or the headscarf.

But the event tackled a serious matter: stereotypes placed on American Muslims after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. And at this two-week series allowed attendees to discuss the matter, both seriously and jovially.

Shuruq, which means “sunrise” in Arabic, was created after the attacks by a group of Muslim students at NYU to raise religious awareness when it was needed most. This year, Shuruq’s focus was on Islamic activism and enterprise in America.

This year’s most popular event was the interfaith comedy show, “One Muslim, One Jew, One Stage.” About 400 people came to watch comedians Azhar Usman and Rabbi Robert Alper poke fun at the stereotypes attached to both Judaism and Islam.

“The support of the Jewish community was very pleasant,” said audience member Danish Sheikh, a CAS senior. “It shows that we are breaking down barriers and making new relationships.”

Shikoh was one of eight Muslim entrepreneurs who discussed their careers from a faith-based perspective at the Shuruq event titled “Islam and Innovation: Muslim Entrepreneurs Talk Business,” which marked the end of the two-week series of events held for Shuruq.


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