On Fridays at noon, the scent of curry can be smelled from outside the Center for Spiritual Life. Inside, two pots of curry and rice sat on a table in the living room. The sound of boiling rice radiated from the kitchen, as Chaplain Sami Aziz, Director of the Center for Spiritual Life, stood by the stove making Basmati rice for the curry.
“Everybody feels comfortable here, I think part of the reason is because it’s the Spiritual Life Center, ” Aziz said.
On Curry Fridays, the Center is filled with students and staff members alike talking and eating curry.
Junior Sam Daughenbaugh was a new face at the gathering this past Friday and he said he enjoyed his first time visit.
“I had plans to get lunch with [my friend] Kobby and we were going to go to Hoover, but he recommended this, [and] this was clearly the better option. It's kind of home-y. It’s more of a community environment, it kind of reminds me of the Media Free dinners,” Daughenbaugh said.
Curry Fridays started when Chaplain Sami Aziz, Director of Center of Spiritual Life, saw a need in the Muslim community on campus.
“I started Curry Friday because the Muslim community needs to pray, and they to have the service Fridays. Because we live in a western country, unlike a Muslim country where they’ll give you time off, we don’t have that time off, so I’ve got to fit it into that one-hour lunch break that everybody’s got,” Aziz said.
As a result of this, he created a time on Fridays to cook for Muslim students. He also encouraged students to bring their friends and a significant amount of non-Muslim people attended Curry Fridays.
“It was for the Muslim community, but it is also a part of my faith as a Muslim to feed people who are hungry and (in) need,” Aziz said.
Aziz also said food is a way to spread love. “We believe that the cells of the food actually pick up the emotions of the person cooking it and it transfers into the cells of that person’s body. If the person is cooking that food with love, then love transfers,” Aziz said.
Along with love, Aziz hoped to spread community with this event. Curry Fridays were made to build relationships and bring people of different backgrounds together through food.
“That’s what’s happening here: you have black people, you have white people, you have Muslim people, [got] brown people here, you [got] people from different nations,” Aziz said. “You have staff, you sometimes have faculty, you have students. They’re looking at each other’s eyes and they’re eating food.”