Inclusivity through Islam

(Story by Steven Bardwell)

Islam Awareness Week has come and gone once again, but the celebration of different groups, encouragement of civil debate and the acceptance of differences, may just be here to stay at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

October 13 through the 20th was Islam Awareness Week on the campus of the University of Illinois Champaign.  Events were held every day throughout the week that encouraged people of different genders, ethnicity and faith to come out a participate.  Group prayers were held almost every day on the quad with a special trip to the Central Illinois Mosque on Friday afternoon.


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A special guest, Muslim comedian Azhar Usman, stopped by the Illini Union Wednesday night to spread not only the word of Islam, but spread laughs and blend a room filled of mixed cultures.

Western awareness of the Islam religion is based a lot off of media events that send messages of the Middle East as Islamic terrorists.  Though Azhar Usman is able to joke about the negative stereotypes, it is a serious matter that calls upon false notions of the worlds fastest growing religion.

The Awareness Week was hosted by the Muslim Student Association at Illinois.  The events were not only listed on the association’s website, but flyers were posted in the college halls and on the quad.  Many of the events had great turnouts, especially to see Azhar Usman, but the most surprising to those involved was the turnout to the Mosque.

Every year, the awareness week ends on Friday with a group observance at the Central Illinois Mosque and this year’s turnout was the largest according to Senior Shoeb Sadiq, a three year member of the Muslim Student Association.

The Association plans to have the awareness week once again in 2015, so be on the lookout to raise your awareness of the world’s second largest religion.

Listen Here for the story: Inclusivity through Islam


This was first complete audio package of the year and I really enjoyed being able to focus on just sound bites and natural sounds.  When I began, I was going to just focus on Azhar Usman’s event, but instead I wanted to dig a little deeper into Islam Awareness Week.

I contacted three different representatives from the Muslim Student Association, but only one got back with me later on, so it was too late for soundbites.  I was able to use some of the information for the end of my story up above.

Writing the script before editing took a lot more planning then I had first thought, but it helped lay out exactly what I had before I went on to Adobe Premiere.  I had to do many takes for my own narratives and in the end they were still a little long.  I was able to level out all of the audio so the volumes were stable, but it took some messing around with the keynotes and output.

After piecing it all together, I was proud of the finished product and would be really interested in doing another story tying in Inclusive Illinois.  Focusing on interviews and writing out a story were my favorite parts of this project and I hope to focus on those things going into the final couple assignments.

Here is my Script for the story above.

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