By: Nick Mason, Staff Writer
Members of the Muslim Student Association expressed excitement for upcoming projects and described favorite past events during the group’s welcome back potluck Sept. 2, which included individuals from multiple countries and diverse backgrounds.
Student Lauren DiFatta has been regularly attending MSA events for a year, and she is not Muslim.
“My best friend is Muslim so I came to the Eid banquet last year and everyone made me feel welcome,” said Di Fatta. “I want to learn about different religions and with everything going on in the world. Education is important.”
Senior mass communication major Faras Aamir has been an MSA member for one year.
“We have so much diversity here, where we can be around each other and show a piece of us to people who are open minded and willing to learn,” Aamir said. “People can feel they belong to something when the rest of the world excludes them.”
MSA Community Service Chair Lyric Harris has been with the group for three semesters. She converted to Islam when she was 15. When applying to schools, she wanted to make sure the learning institution had a MSA that would be a good fit for her.
Harris enjoyed the Feeding our Neighbors event last year because they gave care packages to people in the city, including women who had recently given birth.
“Some of these people don’t have a lot and are judged, and they just want someone to talk to,” Harris said.
One thing Harris is looking forward to this semester is an event where she will provide nutrition information and advice.
This fall also marks the first semester of MSA’s newest president, Osama Hassan’s term
“I find it as a growing experience,” Hassan said. “I feel like I am growing as a person and as a leader. My favorite thing so far that we’ve done was the Islamophobia event last May. It was fun working with my teammates and seeing it all come together.”
The MSA welcomes any person to attend their meetings and events. MSA also works with Hillel, an on-campus Jewish organization on occasion. The first of these collaborations this year will be part of the Fall Kickoff, where both groups will come together and pick up trash from campus to the Towson Town Center mall and back.
On Oct. 6, they will have an Eid celebration in the Union’s Chesapeake rooms.
“There will be lots of speakers and events during this,” MSA Vice President Sarah Elsayed said. “It is free for students, but you need to get a free ticket from the University Union.”
The events will include a henna station and a photo booth where people can try on a hijab.
The MSA will also host a Syrian refugee dinner in November, where a speaker will talk about his experiences working with refugees in Greece.
“I encourage anyone to come,” said DiFatta. “Everyone is nice and welcoming. They are all nice people, the events are fun and you can learn and spread awareness to others. I don’t feel different from them even though I’m not Muslim.”