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Journal sheds light on the Middle East

Published: Thursday, May 1, 2008

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

In recent years, the Middle East has seized the spotlight in world affairs. In the past decade, the region has dominated the covers of newspapers, political debates, and American foreign policy.

The Middle East's increasingly present role in our daily lives is reflected by the growing popularity of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (MEIS) program at Boston College.

The launching of the MEIS major next fall will be followed by a change to the MEIS Journal of Middle Eastern studies. The journal will now be known as Al-Noor, meaning "the light" in Arabic.

As the title suggests, the journal hopes to illuminate different sides of issues pertaining to the Middle East.

"The beauty of the Middle East and Islam is its diversity - and it's not just the most active or 'scholarly' at BC that have something to share or add to the debate," said Christopher Maroshegyi, the co-editor-in-chief and A&S '09. "Rather, it's the students who wouldn't necessarily call themselves Middle Eastern experts, but experts in culture, or finance, or philosophy, who can add a new light to this debate," Maroshegyi said in an e-mail.

When Maroshegyi was elected the communications director of the Middle Eastern Studies Student Association (MEISSA) during his sophomore year, the journal was a little more than a newsletter with a few student articles and consisted mostly of information about the minor.

As he witnessed the growing importance of the region, he decided to expand the journal into an open forum where students would be able to express their opinions and ideas.

Maroshegyi's hope is to provide a different view of the Middle East from that which is often displayed on the news.

"Given not only the importance of the Middle East to the United States but the very struggle of life the people in the streets of the region face, I thought it was essential to present the region as it is, in a new light, different from the Iraqi violence or al-Qaida terrorism which sadly paints a picture of the Middle East for most Americans," Maroshegyi said.

Maroshegyi and his co-editor-in-chief Michael Weston-Murphy, A&S '10, faced some challenges in publishing the journal.

After convincing administrators, students, and faculty that they were determined and committed to their endeavor, the students still faced financial problems.

Fortunately, with the guidance of political science professors Kathleen Bailey and Donald Hafner, the journal was made possible.

The journal will be distributed on campus starting Tuesday and will become available online at www.bc.edu/alnoor this weekend. The editors of Al-Noor hope it will raise awareness of important issues that are often overlooked by the media.

"We hope to reach out to undergraduates from around the world to partake in a truly global sharing of knowledge and understanding," said Weston-Murphy. "This conversation has to start somewhere, why not Boston College?"

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