Muslim Student Association aims to educate and unify students across faiths and cultures

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The Rowan Muslim Student Association's e-board. - Photo via Omair Hashmi

The Rowan Muslim Student Association (MSA) has returned for the spring semester with new events and a determined executive board, looking for new members, and welcoming space for all Rowan students. 

Yasmien Farhat is the MSA’s president, a senior, and an elementary education and literacy studies major, she has been in this position since last semester. The club also consists of roles such as vice president, brother’s event coordinator, education outreach chair, senator, and more. 

Rowan Elgendy is the association’s secretary and spoke on the goals of the club and its purpose. 

“The goal of this club is to provide Muslims and non-Muslims with a space to come together to converse, give charity, and learn more about the teachings of Islam,” said Elgendy. “We aim to help foster understanding and unity among all people on campus by educating them about Islam. Our mission is to engage in religious, social, and community activities.” 

The club has done some of this already, on their Instagram, @rowanmsa, where they highlighted Muslim Heritage Month and provided a slideshow of what it is, who Muslims are, and public figures a part of the Muslim community.  

Farhat describes what the MSA hopes to bring to Rowan, and how it has impacted students, not just members of the association. She believes that it has changed campus culture for the better. In recent news, the MSA had organized a walkout due to the events of the Israel-Hamas War by advocating for the freedom of Palestine. There has been a contribution from the association to start conversations within the Rowan community, most importantly when the university stayed neutral on the war.

“We aimed to not only advocate for the Palestinians when the University failed to but also educate students, staff, and administration about the rich history of Palestine,” said Farhat. “Furthermore, the MSA has collaborated with cultural organizations on campus to host events that recognize and celebrate one another’s cultural differences.” 

A goal that she hopes to hit is connecting with the community on campus and showing them what they stand for. More importantly, she wants outsiders to understand the mission of her club, especially because of all the friendships made inside the organization. 

The MSA also holds a Jummah Prayer, held on midday Friday, where the Muslim community gathers for congregational worship, followed by a khutbah (sermon). One was recently held last semester dedicated to the people of Palestine and the importance of unity.

The Rowan MSA was established in 2019, and has grown in size, but also in impact within the Rowan community. There is now another space for students to learn about Islam, for Muslim and non-Muslim students to converse, and for underrepresented voices at the university to be heard. 

As the semester continues, Farhat states that the Rowan community should keep an eye out for their upcoming event series to prepare for the Spiritual Month of Ramadan. The Ramadan Speaker Series is hosted by the MSA, with three lined up in the coming weeks. They will talk about the secrets of Ramadan Success, they also plan to collaborate with other clubs, and an Eid Celebration along with the attendance of President Houshmand. To find out more about other events coming up, visit their Instagram page, @rowanmsa

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