muslim-student-association

MUSLIM FOR A DAY

In a post 9/11 America where a person can be accused of being a terrorist solely based on their appearance I find myself taking the challenge of being “Muslim” for a day. Although I have always considered myself to be “culturally catholic”, the idea of wearing a head scarf or “hijab” has lingered in my mind for quite some time. As a student of Anthropology it has always been an interest of mine to understand how Muslims, particularly women, perceive themselves in America and how other’s perceive them. I knew that by putting on a hijab I would further categorize myself as a minority. Not only would I be non-white, but I would be Muslim and more importantly a woman. Being fully aware of this and understanding the anti-Islamic sentiment within the U.S, I decided it was something I needed to do.Today, thanks to the MSA at UCLA, I had the opportunity to do just that. It was Muslim awareness week and female students were invited to wear a hijab today for as long as they felt comfortable. At around 12 pm this afternoon I went to the booth and was given a hijab to wear. Interested in the reaction that I would get from strangers I tried paying close attention to people in and around my environment. What I immediately noticed was that it became hard for me to make eye contact. People would quickly divert their gaze to anywhere that was not my direction. I figured that they were trying to be “polite” and not stare but being accustomed to making eye contact I felt a little see-through. I went on with my day even making a 20 minute presentation in my linguistics class on Cuban Spanish wearing my hijab. By 4 pm I had gotten so used to the hijab that I forgot I had it on. Nothing too eventful happened at school besides not being able to make eye contact with strangers (which became really annoying after a while). It was not until I left school grounds that I got a “real” reaction from someone. I was at a restaurant just outside of Westwood when I decided to go up to the counter. There was a woman in front of me who didn’t seem to mind when I stepped up a little closer to her, that is until she turned around and saw my hijab. As soon as she saw me she took a huge side step and stared me down. Forgetting I had on the hijab I quickly apologized thinking I had simply startled her. But when I saw the look she gave me after staring at my head I soon realized that it was my appearance that she was uncomfortable with. Suddenly I felt like I wanted to take back my apology because I had just apologized for looking “Muslim” and I don’t think anyone should ever have to apologize for their appearance or their faith. The only thing I could think of was, “If only she knew I was Christian”. This woman knew nothing of my life, how I grew up, my morals, or anything that has to do with my person and despite that she was quick to make a judgement on me for being “Muslim”. I may not agree with many things the Qur'an has to say and although I personally would never convert to Islam I think people have to respect a persons choice in practicing the religion nonetheless. Tomorrow I will wear my hair down and go on with my life probably never thinking back on this incident. But wearing a hijab for one day is nothing compared to being a practicing Muslim woman who does not simply decide to not wear a hijab for one or two days because it is inconvenient. These women, despite what many Americans believe, are strong and brave for heading out in public on a daily basis even after running the risk of being put under scrutiny. What I experienced today was nothing in comparison to what these women have lived through and will continue living through and for that I think they are a true inspiration. 

From being oppressed to not fully integrating in American culture to hating men, there are many misconceptions about women wearing the hijab according to Saadia Gaziuddin, a junior at Loyola University Chicago and member of Loyola’s Muslim Student Organization (MSA). But students at Loyola’s MSA set out to help others understand the hijab, as well as reflect on their own hijabi identities, through two events: “Walk a Mile in Her Hijab” and the “Hijabi Monologues”.

Vocalo Overdrive intern Karis Hustad talks with Gaziuddin and other students who participated in the events to find out what they learned and what the hijab means to young Muslim women today.

So I just had my final MSA meeting for the year where we voted for next year’s board. I decided a while back to run for historian because I wanted to actively participate in something great, which not only could I learn from, but I could hopefully help others along the way. Unfortunately I lost, but I’m oddly okay with that. I know I had the right intentions going into the whole ordeal and beforehand I trusted that whatever was to happen would be in God’s hands and that it should be embraced. I’m not bitter or angry or upset. Do I wish I won, absolutely. But if it wasn’t in God’s plan then I’m not fighting it. My only regret is not participating in MSA, actively for the past years. I was in a dark place where I doubted my faith and I thought that dropping MSA, and my faith as a whole would allow me to reevaluate myself, but it damaged my soul. I’ve made tremendous progress and I’m glad to have moved on from that and to really devote myself to God. I’m just glad to now actively be participating in MSA again, I don’t know many of the people there, but they seem like quality individuals that InshAllah I will get to know better. So here’s to acceptance and a great senior year.

Remembering Prayer That Touches

Years ago, a spirited woman found me in deep slumber at the MSA Prayer Room in Western University. After she completed her prayer, she covered me with a blanket. It had been a long and cold night and I had been quietly shivering when she found me. I don’t know her…But vividly remember feeling her expression of love and respect for my body. For my mind. For my spirit. When I remember her quiet, anonymous expression, she brings me ease and relief. She loved me, when I couldn’t love myself. - Sumbal Sabah 

ATTENTION: I REALLY NEED YOUR HELP!

Hello lovely followers!!

I’ve recently been elected as Secretary of My University’s MSA (Muslim Student Association) Alhumdullilah. However, the MSA in my school is doing very very poorly and we really need to do something big to attract people’s attention. So, next week we will be conducting a super detailed Islamic Awareness Week insha'Allah! Our theme for the week is misconceptions of Islam, and I need your help with something!

For those of you who are from around the world (meaning outside the US nationally and ethnically), I would seriously appreciate it if you could assist me in figuring out some of the easier and popular foods for the following countries:

Indonesia

India

Pakistan

Bangladesh

Nigeria

Egypt

Iran

Turkey

Algeria

Morocco

PLEASE help me out and just message me any and all suggestions you have! It’s for a great cause insha'Allah! If you don’t have any idea, please ask around or reblog this in case someone else can help!

Thank you <3

youtube

University of California, San Diego: A Muslim Student Association student will not condemn a Muslim terrorist organization in public

David Horowitz at UCSD 5/10/2010

Let the truth be spoken.

youtube

University of Tennessee MSA Pancake social