To increase awareness of SAIT’s Muslim Student Association, Muslim students were invited on Oct. 28 to the Senator Burns Penthouse to get to know one another and enjoy an evening of games and food.
Mohmed Al-Ghandour, president of the MSA club at SAIT, emphasized the importance of the club’s presence on campus.
“Without a club like this, we would not be able to hold events or Friday prayers on campus nor would we be able to ensure that Muslims have a presence on campus and that as Muslims they’d be proud of their Islamic identity.”
The association seeks to improve campus life for Muslim students by ensuring the timing of Friday prayers and helping to make it better.
The board members of the club are concerned with any difficulties that Muslim students may have as well as what they would like to see implemented on campus in order to ensure that their way of life as students is in order.
“They have a community to fall back on,” said Fatima Tariq, the association’s event planner. “They have a safe space they can come anytime, and people who want to learn about Islam can come anytime.”
Abdulhakeem Abdulle attended the event after learning about the association. He wants to be a part of the Muslim community on campus and contribute.
“Being a student here naturally with secular studies, they don’t have the care in the world for your Jumu’ah schedule (Friday prayers), your daily prayers, or a place to pray and make wudhu (ablution).”
He also addressed the importance of MSA on campus. “The fact that they’re here…it makes it easier for us to practise on campus rather than having to leave for Jumu’ah or compromise in any form.”
The board members expressed what they wanted to be implemented on campus and what they believe the goal is for Muslim students here.
They wanted to see a designated prayer room, they are concerned about how in the interfaith and meditation room, currently where prayers are being held, people enter with their shoes on.
“Even though we make wudhu, we take our shoes off, we walk there, we don’t know other guests that are coming in with their shoes on where those shoes came, like where they touch on the street.” said Firomsa Siraj, the association’s treasurer.
Fatima highlighted how having a specific area for Muslims on campus, such as at the University of Calgary, allows the Muslim Student Association at SAIT to provide better support.
“So, we want to get big enough to be able to do stuff…be able to like provide support. A lot of times people want to learn Arabic, they want to learn how to pray…we want to be able to offer those things.”
The club will continue providing events and support to Muslims on campus with the hopes of also helping non-Muslims understand more about the religion.
“That is, I think this is one of the key things for us as a Muslim club is that we teach everybody about true Islam and not you know, the misconceptions,” said Mohmed Al-Ghandour. “We need to break the misconceptions and build bridges.”