Tea and coffee time does not have to be solely reserved for sleepy afternoons.
As one of the last installments of Islam Awareness Week, the Muslim Student Association offered soothing blends of teas and coffees from around the Muslim world for Penn students to sip on Saturday night.
Houston Hall’s Class of 1949 Room featured music and a rug in the center where students could sit, relax and drink tea in a warm, aromatic lounge setting. Ancient and modern literary works stacked up on tables for students to flip through as they enjoyed their tea.
From Sept. 21 to this past Saturday, the MSA organized Penn’s 11th annual Islam Awareness Week, where it held events to invite people to learn about Islamic culture.
Seventy students attended at the peak of the event, and an estimated 100 total guests stopped by for coffee and tea, consuming over 14 gallons.
“It’s sort of different from our other events,” College senior and MSA Communications Chair Quratul-Ann Malik said. “The idea is that we want it to cater to the greater Penn community, not just the Muslim community.”
The event featured a variety of sweets as well as exotic tea and coffee drinks, like chamomile from Egypt and rooibos from South Africa.
MSA Islamic Education Co-chair and College and Wharton sophomore Fayaaz Khatri said, “Conveniently, almost all tea and coffee drinks come from predominately Muslim countries, and so we featured a lot of coffees and teas tonight to show the Penn community how prevalent Islam really is throughout the world.”
College senior Mak Hussain, MSA President, explained that as Islam prohibits drinking alcohol, social drinking in Muslim-majority cultures revolves around drinking tea and coffee instead of alcoholic drinks.
“The larger point really is for us to show the diversity in the Muslim world,” Hussein said. “Without necessarily talking through the lens of an academic discussion, we just want to show people that Muslims are not just one homogenous block. There is a wide diversity there.”
College freshman Valida Pantsulaia said, “I wanted to come out and try some tea. I also thought it would be a good place to meet new people and communicate with people of different cultures.”
Students chatted and relaxed while they sampled the teas. Hussain said drinking tea and coffee in a social setting is common throughout these different cultures.
“At the same time, we just want to show people a different way of doing things at Penn — to slow down a little bit.”