Muslim Students’ Association members accommodate distance learning with new activities

Students+in+2019+enjoyed+Eid+dinner+in+Caf%C3%A9+Lab.+%0AMembers+of+Muslim+Students+Association+look+toward+second+semester+for+opportunities+to+host+in-person+events.+

Elliott Taylor

Students in 2019 enjoyed Eid dinner in Café Lab. Members of Muslim Students Association look toward second semester for opportunities to host in-person events.

William Tan, Reporter

Students have been creative in finding ways to conduct many school activities through videoconference or social distance, but weekly prayer sessions for the Muslim Students’ Association have become difficult to hold online, as they are best done in-person, shoulder to shoulder. Despite these difficulties, the MSA is looking forward to planning celebrations and interactive events for the second semester. 

“Most people think it’s more awkward to pray online,” MSA co-president Sana Shahul said. “Generally, the way we pray in Islam requires a lot of movement. To have a computer there makes things much more difficult.”

However, the challenges of the virtual setting have not deterred the club members from finding creative alternatives. 

One such idea Sana suggested is to hold online guest speaker presentations to teach the community about issues relating to Islam, such as the the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China. 

Most people think it’s more awkward to pray online. Generally, the way we pray in Islam requires a lot of movement. To have a computer there makes things much more difficult.”

— Sana Shahul

Additionally, MSA is establishing a mentorship program where senior members can partner with newer members in order to learn what it means to be a Muslim student at Lab.

The MSA is also looking to hold some of its yearly celebrations that were canceled during the fall, such as the traditional Eid dinner.

“We really pushed off a lot of our planning to the second semester to see if there would be any possibilities for the Eid dinner,” Sana said. “We usually have that in October, and now we are trying to see if we could have part of that outside in person, if there is any way to bring the community together in the spring.”

With Ramadan beginning April 12, Sana said the MSA hopes to celebrate the religious holiday with the Ramadan Ramp Up, which will consist of an online panel answering questions and speaking about what it means to be Muslim and how the school can support distance-learning students during fasting.

With a resiliency toward achieving ambitious goals, “second semester is where we are going full throttle,” Sana said.