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UTA Library Offers Muslim Journey

By Kristen Gilley-Kerr


The University of Texas at Arlington accepted a grant that provides students with resources intended to teach people about Muslim culture in America and around the world, throughout the ’13 academic year.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an organization that allocates grants to libraries. The grants are part of their “Bridging Cultures Bookshelf,” collection.

The Muslim Journey collection highlights five themes: American Stories, Connected Histories, Literary Reflections, Pathways of Faith and Points of View, according to a press release by Bridget Lewis on

Librarians Derek Reece and Rafia Mirza applied for the grant last fall and learned in January that they were one of the libraries to receive the grant.

“We were very excited ‘we only just recently got the books in’,” Mirza said.

UTA, Texas Christian University and two public schools will showcase the collection, which is used to inform the general public with people, places, history, faith and culture of Muslims around the world, according to a press release by Bridget Lewis on

Receiving the collection aids UTA in its already diverse population.

According to a 2008 survey from “U.S. News World and Report,” UT Arlington ranked within the top 10 percent of the most racially diverse universities in the nation, and as of 2012 it ranks 16th according to “U.S. News World and Report.”

History senior Sheyenne Stewart is currently taking Medieval Christian and Muslim Interaction at UTA and is learning about Muslim pilgrims going through medieval Sicily. Upon learning about UTA’s acquired collection, Stewart wants to apply what she’s learned during this semester toward the Muslim Journey exhibit.

“It is a really good idea because we are such a diverse school, and we have a large Muslim student body,” Stewart said. “So this helps with the understanding of our peers at UTA and their social context.”

Mirza, along with other members of UTA’s library staff, hope to begin their outreach to the community and to on-campus groups.

“We will have some events coming up later this spring,” Mirza said.

The events are intended to be entertaining, informative and thought provoking, according to a press release by Bridget Lewis on

Ancient map that highlights important points of interest showcased in the The Muslim Journey exhibit. Photo courtesy of

Written by Kristen Gilley-Kerr

March 20th, 2013 at 8:00 pm

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Written by Kristen Gilley-Kerr

February 22nd, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized