Student club gathers to talk about Islamic topics


Graig Bracey

The Muslim Student Association gathers on the third floor of the Truxal Library to discuss Islam.

Dan Elson, Editor-in-Chief

A newly created Muslim Student Association started meeting on campus in March.

Hamza Iqbal, the club’s president and Ahmed Abbas, the vice president said they created the club to expand diversity on campus and represent Islam.

“We need more people actually going on campus and being engaged with these types of [clubs],” Iqbal, a second-year psychology student, said. “So I feel like there’s going to be more people actually coming on campus, discussing our religion and just giving back to the community in general.”

Iqbal said seven to 10 members joined the club, which meets on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m on the third floor of the Truxal Library. 

“I thought maybe there would [already] be a Muslim Student Association club, because you can see other colleges like Towson University, University of Maryland, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, they all have it, but we’re the only one that really doesn’t have it,” Iqbal said. “And it’s kind of sad.”

Club members discuss Islamic topics, Islamophobia and diversity. The holy month of Ramadan started in early April and ends in May. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims fast, show generosity and pray.

Owen Silverman Andrews, an instructional specialist of English language learning, said he became the club’s faculty adviser to address diversity on campus.

“It’s a really pivotal moment for the college in which we’re beginning to deepen and solidify our anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion work,” Silverman Andrews said. “And you know, this club’s formation is impressive because it came from the students.”

Abbas, a second-year information technology student, said he wants to “promote and talk about Islam . . . [and] give a message to people that Islam is a respectful religion with peace.”

“There are Muslim people on campus,” Iqbal noted. “But we don’t have anywhere to go [and] collaborate and understand each other’s religion and stuff like that. So I want it to give people an opportunity to learn [Islam] basically.”

First-year nutrition science student Merna Shaalan said she sees the club growing. 

“A lot of people that are in this group that I’ve spoken to see potential [in the club],” Shaalan, the club’s treasurer, noted. 

She also said the club is important.

“This is a good opportunity to show our community as being welcoming and just a fun place to be and feel comfortable and be yourself.”

First-year computer science student Jamil Guthrie Jr. said he joined the club to learn about different cultures and religions.

“So far, I think it’s pretty good and it’s honestly been very enlightening,” Guthrie Jr., a member, said.

First-year business administration student Fatima Jamal noted she joined the club because she wanted to connect with AACC’s Muslim students.

“It’s nice to bond with people who understand that way of life,” Jamal, the club’s secretary, said.

Students of all religions are welcome to join the club.