HennaFest II celebrates Islam at Harris

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Food and henna tattoos welcomed the return of HennaFest II, hosted by the Muslim Student Association (MSA) on Friday, May 24 to raise awareness of the Islamic faith.

In addition to henna, the event included poetry readings from award-winning MSA members, a slideshow picturing all those involved with MSA this year, and a guest presentation addressing Islamophobia and discrimination.

Despite being preoccupied with the MIST competition at the time, the MSA decided to host the second HennaFest to allow more people to attend this time. The event was also designed to be a test of the new MSA board members’ abilities, which would help them adjust to their positions.

With this, nervous anticipation was obvious on Friday afternoon, and several members were rushing to apply final touches to the decor.

“I was scared that no one would show up,” said Sadiqa Taaseen, sophomore and MSA member. After four bands of work, however, her worries faded as students, faculty, and outside guests flooded the lunchroom. Increased advertising attracted a significantly larger amount of attention than before.

Although senior and MSA co-president Fatima Koli observed that there was less attendance than the last HennaFest, she thought lt it was more successful, and attributes this to better organization.

“There were more outside of school guests from other MSAs which is something we wanted for networking,” she added.

Tayeb Awan, an outside guest and junior from Brooklyn Technical High School, learned about HennaFest from friends at Townsend Harris. Given a choice of attending a semi-formal dance at his school or HennaFest, he opted for the latter.

“I expected to see just another event about Islam but I came to a meeting filled with non-Muslims and Muslims who expressed love and interest for the event and club,” he said.

Lina Sultana, sophomore and volunteer artist agreed and hopes that HennaFest becomes an annual event. “It was a great event because not only did it bring many of the students together, but it also helped MSA to achieve its goal which was to share the Islamic belief with Non-Muslims,” she said.

Those new to HennaFest shared a similar outlook.

Christina Kim, sophomore, originally sought the henna at the event, but found the entire experience enjoyable. “I saw the passion and true inner feelings of many, even those from individuals that don’t go to our school. It was truly touching,” she said. “Looking back, I’m really glad I decided to go because it was such a beautiful experience.”