MSA holds event to dispel stereotypes
By Rafaela Teixeira | Published Nov. 28, 2017
The Muslim Student Association (MSA) held the Tea Time with a Muslim event on Nov. 9 during college hour at the Miron Student Center. The goal of the event was to create a judgement-free Islamic platform for students of different backgrounds to come in and ask questions.
“We’re trying to generate two things, social interaction because people should be hanging out with people outside their culture and also to educate people,” said MSA president Najiba Syed, a senior majoring in biology. “In America there is a lot of ignorance and if we can help with that, then we should.”
Members of the association emphasized the importance of shedding some light on stereotypes and misconceptions of the religion, like the distinction between religion and culture.
“Muslims have been portrayed in a negative way in media and this event helped others understand the religion better,” said Syed.
The event consisted of speed-dating like activities where each member had one topic to discuss and went around to each table for about five minutes to answer any question.
The topics discussed were marriage, women in Islam, hijab, terrorism and open-ended questions.
When the activity was finished, a quiz was passed to guests to show what they learned. The guest with the most questions answered correctly won a gift card.
This event was the last one hosted this semester by MSA, but students can look forward to Islamic Awareness Week, which will take place in April of next semester.
The week long series of events will consist of poetry night in collaboration with the poetry club at the Cougar’s Den, paint night and Friday prayer.
This will give students a chance to get to know the Muslim community at Kean.
“It’s better to get answers directly from the source than to hear it from a third party that can leave some things out,” said Syed. “We’re trying to bring these events to campus so people can know that we’re nice people and we’re trying to put ourselves out there so they can come to us and ask for clarification on any matter.”
MSA meetings are held every Tuesday during college hour at CAS 441. They consist of a short message, board games and food so members of the MSA can build solid friendships and community.
MSA also has a prayer room located in CAS 442 for students and staff to come in and pray, meditate or have quiet moments to themselves, as well as enjoy group prayer everyday at 1:30 pm.
“In the meetings we don’t want students to leave their classroom environments to come and sit through an Islamic lecture,” said Syed. “We started having story time every week to remind members of our prophets and what they went through and it’s an encouraging message so students can remember who they are.”