Did you know that the mathematician and astronomer who introduced numbers and algebra to European mathematics was a Muslim? Muḥammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi is known as the “father of algebra”.
And how about this: the fig tree is one of the few plants mentioned in the Holy Quran, with its health benefits.
These are some historical stories that form part of a visual display at Cambridge Town Hall for Islamic Heritage Month.
Muslim Women of Cambridge is behind the showcase aimed at educating people about Islamic history with the aim of better understanding themselves.
“Conversations like this bring people together … to get to know each other more as a neighbor and as a friend, to learn more about each other,” said Abiha Syed, co-chair and one of the founding members. of the group launched in 2017, noting Islamophobia has been on the rise for a few years.
“It is with the hope that we can reduce the hate and spread more love,” she said.
Historical Muslim figures
The exhibition features historical artifacts, calligraphy, profiles of prominent Muslim personalities and foods; it even offers hijabs that people can take home for free.
It includes a miniature Kaaba, which sits at the center of Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where Muslims go on pilgrimage every year.
Fauzia Wafai, the group’s community engagement coordinator, said there are several profiles of historical Muslim figures.
“Muslim heritage is rich in the sense that all scholars, learners, scientists, mathematicians, authors have…made huge, huge investments of their time and done tremendous work,” she said.
Wafai said the group has previously installed its exhibits in local libraries and other spaces, but this year the group intentionally chose to partner with the city.
“I wanted to show this exhibition to the public as an acceptance of the city as well,” Wafai said.
Mayor Kathryn McGarry came to view the exhibit on Monday and spoke with members of the group.
“That’s why it’s so important to have these kinds of exhibits. It educates others, it helps us understand the richness of all of our cultures,” McGarry said. “We are a diverse, inclusive community. It helps celebrate that particular aspect of our diversity.”
‘I hope anyone visiting the city of Cambridge downstairs at the moment will pass the exhibition in October to see what we’re talking about,’ she said.
People can check out the exhibit until October 29.
The Morning Edition – KW5:41Islamic Heritage Month display at Cambridge Town Hall