Project Nur celebrated the interfaith holiday Mimouna last Monday on campus. The cultural organization is soon to conclude its first year at San Diego State as a pluralistic group dedicated to diversity.
“We’re a light on campus,” Project Nur President Hashaw Elkins said. Nur is Arabic for light. “We’re committed to positive experiences, generating dialogue and to connecting people.”
According to Elkins, Project Nur is a model on campus of a truly diverse community. He added that Project Nur is a cultural organization dedicated to culture.
Originating in Morocco, Mimouna is the day after Passover. During Passover Jews are not allowed to eat bread. Mimouna is the first day they can begin eating it again. This is accompanied by a springtime celebration when Jewish people bless their orchids and vineyards, followed by a large feast with their Muslim and Christian neighbors.
In commemoration of the holiday, Project Nur gifted a fig tree, a universal symbol of peace, to the campus garden created by campus organization Garden Gnomes.
“We want to educate people on the fact that holidays like this exist so that it reaches the awareness of the public and they understand that there is more to interfaith than they previously thought, more out there than just conflict,” Elkins said.
The event showcased student art with the theme of peace and diversity, provided information about the holiday and hosted a performance by local belly dancers. A photo booth provided by Apple displayed the traditions and history of the event, resembling Balboa Park’s houses of hospitality.
“I feel that such artistry is precisely what Project Nur seeks to do … to focus on the best that we can find in terms of art and human expression,” professor of religious studies and Project Nur adviser Khaleel Mohammed said.
According to Elkins, the event almost didn’t happen because of funding issues. Elkins said Cultural Arts and Special Events funds had already been used for the semester. The original plan had been shelved when students urged Elkins to bring it back. The dancers and artists offered their talents for free.