Muslim Student Association enlightens, informs

Emily Eppens

The Muslim Student Association is hoping to change the way students think about the Islamic faith.

On most Mondays and Fridays, the Muslim Student Association sets up a booth in the free-speech zone outside of Parks Library. Students hand out pamphlets and pocket-sized Qurans, the central text for Islam, and they answer any questions passing students may have.

Mansour Manci, senior in mechanical engineering and the president of the association, said this is the first year the association has set up a booth and become regularly active on campus. The club is multicultural and open to anyone to attend the meetings.

“I think it is important for students to be informed on what is going on in Muslim countries and things that get misconstrued about different Muslim practices,” Manci said. “We are focused on dispelling people’s myths from misconceptions about Islam.”

During meetings, the club has activities members can participate in as well as an informative and educational teaching opportunity.

“I am so happy for this opportunity. It gives us a chance to tell people what Islam is really about,” Manci said.

Manci said the booth is occasionally visited by people who say the group is associated with terrorist action. Others say the group is more interested in discussing Islam in a political stance, rather than students taking the time to understand the religion.

“Just because one group of people [who are Muslim] are doing something bad does not represent Islam as a whole,” said Soufiane Talmoust, junior in biological systems engineering and the public relations representative for the association.

Manci said one of the things that draws him so closely to the Quran and Islam is it’s acceptance of science.

“Two-thirds of the Quran is based on scientifically proven facts,” Manci said. “What we get a lot of is people who think that they have done their research on the Quaran, but what they have really done is cherry-picked certain verses and certain ideas. Without looking at the whole context, you get a completely different idea.

When thinking about events that have shaken the entire country, such as 9/11 and, more recently, the Islamic State group, an individual can draw conclusions about the Islamic faith and what it represents.

Talmoust said when it comes to Islam, many people hear what they want to hear rather than listening and understanding.

“My favorite part about being a part of [Muslim Student Association] is to gather people of different cultures and beliefs so we can discuss each other easily,” said Ahmed Alhammadi, senior in management information systems.

Though the association has been relatively inactive the past couple years, Manci and Talmoust are working to expand the group and get involved more fully on campus during the school year, such as partnering events with other religious organizations on campus.

This year’s schedule has been the busiest so far, with the biggest growth the association has ever seen.

“The MSA is a good way for Muslim students to have an outlet to express their faith publicly,” Manci said. “It gives them a sense of pride. It gives [Muslim students] a way to show off their faith to the university.”

Students with questions concerning the Islamic faith can contact [email protected]