BY MARIA CASALINO
Students at County College of Morris are now able to join the newly chartered Muslim Student Association to network and connect with each other, whether of the Islam religion or not.
Jannat Sheikh, journalism major and president of MSA, led the club initiation providing members with knowledge about the societal problems that Muslims face, the goals and standards that the club wishes to implement, and the possible solutions that the club wishes to follow in order to conquer society and provide student club members the opportunity to speak out.
The club’s stated mission is to “spread knowledge and understanding about Islam to all people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.”
According to Peer Research, as Sheikh shared on Thursday, “on a scale from 0-100 (0 being the coldest/unfavorable and 100 being the warmest/favorable), Americans rated Islam an average of 40.” Other belief systems were rated, Judaism receiving a 63 and Christianity a 61. Islam is ranked comparatively low.
Knowing this, MSA has come together to defy the perception that Islam is a bad entity, as Sheikh said. It will also work to educate people and erase any misconceptions of Islam and the Islamic way of life.
“Muslims need to know they are appreciated and appreciated in society,” Sheikh said.
Aaron Bosloper, vice president of MSA and an engineering major at CCM, spoke at the meeting about his Muslim culture.
“For me, religion was a house with many rooms and in those rooms, many religions. Muslim fit into my house,” Bosloper said. He converted to Islam from Christianity. “It was a long process, but once I did it, I definitely felt closer to God.”
Krupa Patel, a practicing Hindu and respiratory health major at CCM and Mahak Noor, a practicing Muslim biology major at CCM, both joined MSA in response to encouragement by Sheikh.
“We met (Sheikh) in the Student Community Center and she persuaded us to come,” Patel said.
“I wanted to learn more about my culture,” Noor said.
Even with different religions, cultures, and backgrounds, MSA welcomes everyone in a conscious effort to educate those and offer positive insight about Islam as a whole.
Looking ahead, MSA plans to host a myriad of events, the goal of which is to lead to more student attendance, as well as more knowledge about the existence of the club.
Over the next couple of weeks, MSA plans to host a bake sale or basketball charity event where the proceeds will be donated to Syrian Refugees. It also plans to dedicate one week at CCM to Muslim awareness where CCM students will have the opportunity to learn more about Islam and the Muslim religion.
For now, MSA will continue to hold weekly meetings at 12:30 in SCC125, also known as the club room.
“Everyone is always welcome here,” Sheikh said.