Islamic Association on UA Campus Helping Spread Compassion On 9/11 Anniversary With Blood Drive

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)-- An Islamic association at the University of Arkansas said they are hoping to show compassion on the anniversary of 9/11 by holding a blood drive on campus.

"Most people are a little uncomfortable with it being placed on 9/11," said Abigail Pickardt, the president of the Al-Islam Student Association at the University of Arkansas.

The U of A association held a blood drive named Muslims for Life, on the 17th anniversary of an extremist Islamic group attacking the United States.

"It became the only explanation people had for Islam, so they generalized an entire community to that one extremist group," said Pickardt.

Before the drive began there was a moment of silence to honor those who died in the terrorist attacks.

Feroz Hundal said, he feels people have a misconception of his culture.

"They heard that this is the teaching of Muslims, that they murder, they kill, they take lives," said Hundal.

He hopes events like Muslims for Life will help paint a new picture of Islam in America.

"From our community, this is how we respond back, instead of showing hatred, we show love and give back to the community."

Claire Allison remembers watching the terrorist attacks unfold on television, sitting in her 9th-grade music class,"I remember my band director coming out of his office and telling us to play America the beautiful."

Allison said donating blood is her way of honoring that day, "I just found it to be a really great way to remember the day and give back a little bit."

Pickardt thnks progress is being made to end a stereotype, "Islamophobia was less immediately after the event and it kind of grew, but I believe it's coming back down, hopefully with efforts like Muslims for life."

Muslims for Life organizers said the blood donations collected will be distributed to various hospitals in Northwest Arkansas.