In the wake of the shooting at two mosques on March 15 that killed 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, this year's Islamic Awareness Week comes at a "crucial time."

That's what Mendim Akiti, president of Muslim Students Association (MSA) and senior philosophy and religious studies major, said in an email response about the annual Ball State event.

From March 25 to April 2, there will be presentations, a discussion panel, an interfaith dinner and the screening of the "Muslims in Muncie" documentary. Akiti said the Muslim community wishes to "introduce Islam to those unfamiliar with either the faith or its followers."

According to a campus-wide email sent March 22 by the Office of Institutional Diversity, here are the scheduled events for this year's Islamic Awareness Week:

11 a.m. - 4 p.m., March 25
L. A. Pittenger Student Center

"How To Be An Ally To The Local Muslim Community"
6 - 8 p.m., March 26
Applied Technology Building room 183 

“Religion-State Relations In The Politics Of Muslim America" by Kambiz Ghaneabassiri
4:30 - 6 p.m., March 28
L. A. Pittenger Student Center forum room

Interfaith Dinner
5 p.m., March 31
First Presbyterian Church

“Muslims in Muncie” film viewing
6 - 8 p.m., April 2
Muncie Public Library's Connection Corner

During a presentation about the documentary last week, Akiti said Elizabeth Agnew, associate professor of religious studies, asked members of the crowd to use three adjectives to describe the local Muslim community.

"The adjective that stood out to me was 'invisible,'" Akiti said. "I think Islamic Awareness Week seeks to remedy that perceived invisibility."

He said MSA is "very fortunate" to have a "very diverse and active group of Muslims," and hopes the scheduled events will "interest a broad range of people."

"The New Zealand shooting was an extremely terrible event that seemed to justify the lingering fear within the mind of every Muslim: an attack within the mosque," Akiti said. "It also pointed to the fact that Muslims need help from everyone to confront Islamophobia head on."

He hopes this year's discussion panel will be beneficial to attendees and have "a positive long-term effect."

"I think in the end people need to understand that Muslims are just like everyone else," Akiti said. "We are going through a phase of political and social turmoil within this country, but I do think as long we are willing to try to understand each other, we will be better in the long run."

Contact Rohith Rao with comments at or on Twitter @RaoReports.