By: Hayden Cordova | Lifestyle Editor
On Feb. 27, the Muslim Student Association held an open social in the Marx Library. The MSA’s goal was to create a comfortable space for students to come and get to know more about the organization, its members, and Islam in general.
Zara Ijaz, president of the MSA, discussed organizing the casual setting of the social as opposed to previous events held by the MSA.
“We really haven’t done socials like this before,” said Ijaz. “We usually do educational events, but with this, we wanted something to gather everyone together and just have fun with. We put this event together kind of as a little meet and greet, so if anyone has any questions, wants to get to know us, or maybe if they want to be involved in the organization, we can get some new members too. Even within our organization, a lot of us are still new to each other.”
The MSA also sought to address pre-conceived notions derived from how Muslims are represented in media, including film and television as well as the news, in an open and easygoing environment filled with food, games, and friends.
Mariam Omar, the MSA’s secretary, explained their goal of clearing up misinformation regarding the Islamic practice.
“I think a lot of people ask about Islam in general,” Omar said. “People wonder if it’s what it sounds like in the media, and our goal with this is to clear up those misconceptions because there’s a lot of them out there. We’re trying to put out the image that we feel we represent and who we are and the practices we follow and how they’re not what other people think they are. We’re trying to break stereotypes and inform people.”
Ijaz agreed with Omar’s sentiment regarding the topic.
“The people who do believe certain stereotypes or misconceptions are people who probably haven’t even met a Muslim before,” Ijaz said. “So maybe at an event like this, they can come and meet a Muslim and realize we’re not like what the media says about us.”
With a successful turnout for the social, the MSA remains optimistic and ambitious towards future events informing South on Islamic practices, particularly regarding the tradition of Ramadan.
“Ramadan is an Islam tradition where Muslims fast for a period of sunrise to sunset for 30 days,” Omar explained. “We know that other Muslim student associations have done it, and we’re going to try to have a day where students can fast with us through the day and then have a big dinner at the end of the day for everyone participating to come and break their fast while getting to talk to people from the association. We weren’t able to do it this semester, but hopefully, we can do that next year.”