Muslima Conversation in Eliot House discusses impact of social media

Photos by Advika Mukherjee ’18  

Photos by Advika Mukherjee ’18

 

BY GABBY RAYMOND '20

On Friday Feb. 3, the weekly Muslima Conversation took place in the Eliot House lounge. After Jumma lunch and prayers, members of the community gathered to discuss relevant issues to the religious community. 

The facilitator, Elizaveta Lozovaya, who is both the Chaplain to the College and the Muslim Advisor on campus, chose this meeting to talk about how social media was affecting their day-to-day lives. “I thought about how important it is in our religion, Islam, to be thoughtful about how we relay information, today that value seems to be lacking in our world,” said Lozovaya.

Lozovaya hopes to facilitate community between students to foster a feeling of safety. “It’s a different format for discussing how people are feeling. It’s different from posting because there is no anonymity to hide behind — they have to be responsible for what they say to each other,” she said. 

Many students feel as though they are constantly bombarded with negative news and political rhetoric to the extent that they frequently consider disconnecting from various forms of social media. 

Kaussar Rahman ’18 feels that posting on a variety of topics does not necessarily indicate a lack of political awareness. “You can’t force someone to share all the negative articles all the time. If I want to share something about the Muslim ban, I will, but don’t assume I don’t care if I don’t — it’s my emotions and my feed. Not sharing a few news articles doesn’t mean I’m not concerned, but sometimes I just want to share a cute dog video,” Rahman said. 

The discussion also broached whether social media can be helpful or whether it is an unnecessary and harmful factor in peoples’ lives. “I think it is a really good thing, and it can be a lot to deal with at once but that doesn’t make it bad,” said Ariane Gottlieb ’20. 

Gottlieb shared with the group an instance in which she was accused of being a follower of Hamas, which is a Palestine Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist organization, after voicing her opinion on a social media platform about the United States stance on Israeli resolutions. Despite this, Gottlieb is still a frequent user and determined to not let a bad experience color her entire perception of social media. 

Each week at Muslima Conversation there is a new topic concerning relevant issues or events to the community in which anyone on campus is welcome to participate. Lozovaya said that the conversations do not focus solely on Islam, and often include other religious communities as well. 

“There are different purposes for the [Muslima] conversations. The most general purpose would be seeing how other people feel about a certain topic and come away from the thoughts of ‘it’s only me who feels this way’ ... to discuss controversial topics and to get other points of view,” said Lozovaya

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