By Ashley Smith
The Muslim Student Association is in the process of rejoining the ranks of student organizations here at Youngstown State University. The group will hold its first meeting as a re-formed group on Nov. 19 at 5 p.m. in Cushwa Hall’s Room 3158.
Taci Turel, associate professor of fashion and interior merchandising, serves as the organization’s adviser.
“MSA has been an active organization at YSU for years. But, in the past year, the majority of the executive committee members graduated and the organization became inactive,” Turel said. “Lately, there has been a demand to re-form it.”
The upcoming meeting is expected to serve as a springboard for the newly re-formed organization, gauging student interest and determining what activities the group might want to tackle.
Some sources said the organization could benefit students who have made YSU their home away from home.
“I have never been part of MSA; however, I do feel that after its formation, students will benefit from it. It will give Muslim students a platform where they can meet with students of similar faith. Those who live on campus far from their homes can organize holy events and still feel connected with their faiths,” Ayesha Qazi, a graduate student majoring in economics said.
The Muslim Student Association isn’t solely for students of the Muslim faith, though; it can be a resource to any student.
“The main purpose of the organization is to provide an opportunity for students who share the Muslim faith to get to know each other and to interact with each other, as well as to give an opportunity to the campus community to interact with the Muslim students,” Turel said.
The organization hopes to serve as a way of building community awareness and educating those who wish to learn about the various Muslim cultures.
“There are many Muslim students on campus, and they all come from very different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. That’s where it becomes interesting,” Turel said. “This is a very international group of students, who are usually labeled as one single culture, which cannot be any further from the truth.”
The first meeting will begin the process of educating members about the different Muslim cultures.
“The organization as a whole aims at providing Muslim students on campus the opportunity to meet each other, to educate members of the campus community about what the religion teaches, to bridge gaps of understanding, build bridges of communication and try to eliminate misconceptions,” Omar Alhadi, a part-time graduate student and a full-time professional human resource generalist said.
Turel concluded that the reformation of Muslin Student Association intends to address prejudicial opinions regarding the Muslim community.
“Having to deal with the prejudice and incorrect representation can be very frustrating for the students,” Turel said. “As the adviser of the organization, I do hope that the new MSA will be a big international student organization, where students can enrich their experience on campus by learning from each others unique cultural differences, celebrating their commonalities and sharing that with the rest of the campus community.”