By Aneeqa Khan
The Muslim Student Association, commonly known as MSA, is a new and promising club at the University of Dallas that was started by freshman Hina Ahmed this semester. Ahmed serves as the president of the club while I serve as an officer. The goal of MSA is to bring about a sense of community for both those who practice and those who do not practice the Islamic faith.
The Islamic religion is quite often misconceived as a faith that promotes violence and torture, but this is not the case. One of our goals as members of this club is to help clarify many misconceptions about Islam. Not only do we want to help people understand our religion, but we also want them to understand the religion free from stereotypical notions or bias.
I decided to join MSA because I knew it would be a place where I could meet new people with similar or even opposing views. MSA would give me the opportunity to reach out and learn new things as well as spread the knowledge that I have. Joining MSA was a great decision and we definitely hope to spread awareness about our club. We would love for members of all faiths and beliefs to join, and our goal is to have harmonious relationship with all members, regardless of their religious views. Radical groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have distorted Islam to a completely different degree. We want to show those who may believe in these falsifications that Islam has much more to offer than what you see on the outside. Kareem Abdul Jabar once said, “Kermit the Frog famously complained, ‘It’s not easy being green.’ Try being Muslim in America. The acts of aggression, terrorism and inhumanity committed by those claiming to be Muslims have made the rest of the world afraid of us. Without really knowing the peaceful practices of most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, they see only the worst examples.” Our aspiration for this forthcoming club is to unite members of all kinds and make them feel like they belong.
Our goal in no way is to promote the religion or convert anyone to Islam; rather, we want to bring about a sense of community and pride, whether one comes from a Muslim or a non-Muslim background. Our goal is to also become a small chapter of part of the nationally organized and well-known Muslim Student Association. The club is open to everyone, regardless of faith or beliefs.
Having this club on a Catholic campus is important because those of us coming from a Muslim background are often misunderstood and feel misplaced in society. Because we attend a school where the students body is predominantly Catholic, it can be hard to fit in. By starting this club, we hope to unite those who are Muslim, those who are not and those who are interested in learning about the religion.
We hold meetings every other Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Carpenter 220 and encourage anyone of any background to attend. Our hope is to have an established number of members by the end of the year so that the club can begin to organize activities and events. We hope that MSA allows students to find new friends, learn new things and feel welcome, regardless of what they may believe.