NCKU Lifts the Veil of Islam and Creates First Muslim-Friendly Campus
歧視與偏見無所不在 信仰夠堅定內心就能強大
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          Discrimination and Bias Are Everywhere, But Faith Makes the Heart Strong

          In the three years since the foundation of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at NCKU, exchange and communication with Muslim students around the world has proliferated. The opening of the prayer room in 2016 was considered a major milestone. For many Taiwanese people, Islam has always been a mysterious and even fearsome religion. However, our in-depth talks with Muslim students revealed that these foreign students, who strictly adhere to their doctrines, find strength in their faith. Born in societies governed by Islamic law, they were shocked when they travelled abroad and saw the misleading impressions caused by the media about their faith. This has prompted their determination to spread understanding of their religion.

          “Becoming a Muslim Was the Result of Contemplation and Rational Analysis; Islam Is the Best Training for Purifying One’s Mind and Body”

          Several Muslim students pointed out that their devoutness was not because the families they were born in follow the Islamic faith. Rather, they chose to be Muslims after deep contemplation and rational analysis once they reached adulthood. Issa, a Muslim student who has been in Taiwan for three years and is pursuing his PhD in clinical medicine at NCKU, explained that his mother is a Christian and his father is Muslim. He experienced both religions growing up. In the end, he chose Islam. “Islam has strict doctrines, but if you think about them carefully, you will realize that their purpose is to make you stronger. For example, alcohol is bad for the body and causes illnesses. We abstain from drinking to keep our bodies strong.” Leaving their homes to live in a non-Islamic country, Muslim students must face various inconveniences brought by their adherence to their religion, such as praying five times a day. This serves as a test of their perseverance and ability to resist temptation. Islam can help train its followers to purify their minds and bodies.

          However, stereotypes and discrimination are commonplace. Nursing student Dewi shared something that happened to another Muslim student at NCKU when she was out shopping. A multiracial couple entered the store with their daughter not long after she did. The little girl was so adorable that the female Muslim student gave her a small wave and a smile. To her dismay, the Caucasian father of the girl said to her, “What a fxxking terrorist!” The female Muslim student was so shocked that she did not know how to respond and cried all the way back to her dorm. Dewi said, “We can feel how friendly Taiwanese people are to us. We had no idea that we would meet such discrimination in Taiwan or that it would come from someone who was also a foreigner to Taiwan.” Rizki, a Muslim student studying for his PhD in politics at the College of Social Sciences, said emotionally, “This is what real terrorism looks like; it’s a terrorist attack on the mind.”

          The Founding Purpose and Mission of MSA Is To Teach More People about Islam

          The purpose of the MSA is to ensure and protect the rights and safety of Muslims in Taiwan and to spread awareness and understanding of Islam. The NCKU Student Union began collaborating with National Tainan Chia-Chi Senior High School and De Guang Catholic Comprehensive High School this year, arranging classes to give younger Taiwanese a deeper understanding of Islam. MSA president Faizal said, “We also held a halaal cooking contest with these high-school students this April to see what they learned from these classes.” They undertake this kind of activism not as missionary work, but rather to offer information on Islam, and step by step, clear up the widespread misunderstandings associated with their religion.

          Faizal, who will graduate and return to Indonesia this year, introduced us to Theo, and said that he would be the next president of the student union. Theo laughed and humbly denied this, but the gleam in his eyes showed us that these Muslim students, who are strong in their hearts due to their faith, are devoted to promoting understanding of Islam in Taiwan and that this spirit and sense of purpose will continue to prosper.

          成大穆斯林學生會成立3年多來,成功促進了來自各國的穆斯林學生交流與聯繫。2016年啟用的祈禱室,更被視為一大成就。伊斯蘭教對許多台灣人來說,總是帶點神祕,又感到些許戒慎恐懼的宗教。深入與穆斯林交談,會發現這群對自身信仰嚴守教規的外籍學生,內心的堅毅比許多人都來得強大。一出生便在伊斯蘭教的規範下成長的他們,來到國外後遭受了文化衝擊,以及因媒體而起對他們的信仰有偏頗印象,但相反地,更激起他們想讓更多人認識伊斯蘭教的決心。

          信奉伊斯蘭教經過思考理性分析 洗滌身心靈最佳鍛鍊

          虔誠卻不因原生家庭信奉伊斯蘭教而盲從,幾個學生都紛紛指出他們在成長過程中都是經過思考並且理性分析過後才選擇成為穆斯林的。已來台3年,在成大臨床醫學研究所攻讀博士學位,來自奈及利亞的Issa說他的母親是基督徒,從小他便接觸了兩個宗教,最後他選擇了伊斯蘭教,「伊斯蘭教規嚴謹,但仔細思考,這些規定其實是在使我們變得更好更強。例如,酒精對人體不好,會引起疾病,我們不喝是在保持自身強壯的體魄。」而離鄉背井,在非伊斯蘭教國家生活的他們,面對謹守教規的所帶來的種種不便,以及如何堅持奉行一天5次的祈禱,也是對內在拒絕誘惑以及毅力的嚴格訓鍊,伊斯蘭教規就是一種洗滌身心靈的最佳鍛鍊。

          然而,刻板印象與歧見在世界上仍無所不在,就讀護理系的Dewi分享了同是成大穆斯林學生的經歷。穆斯林女學生到店裡購物,不久店內走進了一對帶著一個混血兒小孩的國際夫妻,丈夫是來自西方國家的臉孔。孩童的稚嫩可愛讓這位穆斯林女同學忍不住與他互動,對他笑了笑,沒想到他那不知來自哪個國家的父親,竟然就對著她說:「What a fxxking terrorist!(哪裡來他媽的恐怖份子!)」這位女同學嚇得不知如何應答,一路哭著回到宿舍。Dewi說:「我們感受得到台灣人對我們的友善,沒想到在台灣遭受到歧視,竟然是同樣來自國外的外籍人士。」正攻讀社會學院政治系博士學位的Rizki也有感而發:「這才是恐攻,心靈上的恐怖攻擊。」

          MSA成立的宗旨與使命 讓更多人認識伊斯蘭教

          MSA成立的宗旨,就是希望能夠確保及維護在台穆斯林的權益和安全,並使人們不再對穆斯林感到害怕。因此,學生會在今年度也開始與家齊女中以及德光女中合作,安排講師到學校授課,目的是希望更多的年輕學子能夠對伊斯蘭教泯除偏見,深入認識該宗教。MSA會長Faizal說:「今年4月我們還為這些高中生舉辦了Halal Food的烹飪比賽,驗收上課成果。」不求這些年輕孩子一定要成為穆斯林的兄弟姊妹,但至少可以讓更多人認識伊斯蘭教,一步一步慢慢走,化開外界對此宗教的誤解。

          而5月中旬至6月中適逢齋戒月,創各大學校園之先例,成功大學學務處活動發展組於6月6、7日舉行「國立成功大學2018年伊斯蘭校園高峰會」 (NCKU World Islam Campus Summit 2018),為營造一個更為理解、尊重、接納和友善的大學校園而努力。活動中除了邀多位國內外大學校長、貴賓、學者專家、學生,齊聚一堂,進行中英文對談之外,也安排播放數部伊斯蘭電影並部分開放映後座談。穆斯林學生協會MSA在高峰會也擔任重要角色,除了論壇主題的發想與資訊提供外,也擔任接待外賓的工作,以及派出代表參與論壇,分享個人經驗。學生會的活躍、積極,以及與對自身宗教的虔誠與熱情由此可見一斑。

          Faizal今年即將畢業回到印尼,他特別介紹在座的另一位學生Theo將是下一位學生會會長,雖然Theo謙虛地笑著否認,但眼神卻透露著光彩,也顯示出這一群因宗教而內心剛強的穆斯林學生們,願意為在台灣穆斯林付出的使命與精神,將會一屆一屆地傳承下去。