Minnetonka’s Muslim Student Alliance: What Makes It Special?

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Minnetonka’s Muslim Student Alliance: What Makes It Special?

Hibo Ali and Rebecca Schumacher

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Muslim Student Association (MSA), is one of the newest and fastest growing clubs at MHS. The club was started last year by a passionate student. Almost a year later, it has accumulated approximately thirty kids. So why exactly was this club started? To find the answer to this question and more, we interviewed Zainab Abdi, ‘18, the founder of MSA. According to Abdi, she wanted Muslim and non-Muslim students alike to a have a space to openly discuss issues going on at MHS and around the world.

So what actually happens at MSA? Well, like most MHS clubs, a typical MSA meeting starts off with food. The leaders provide snacks like doughnuts, and for the first twenty minutes, everyone interacts and socializes while they eat. After that, they move into discussion, where they talk over current events and relevant topics, offering ideas and opinions in an open environment. Occasionally, the club will also host speakers.

Beyond classroom discussions, the group also places an emphasis on the third pillar of Islam: charity. As a group project, MSA members spent a couple of hours at Feed My Starving Children boxing food last year. The event was so successful that they are planning to do one charity event per month this year, according to Abdi. They plan to return to Feed My Starving Children, as well as trying to collaborate with Muslim organizations like Building Blocks, a group that aims to advance the Muslim community and give them opportunities to apply the principles of Islam.

Last year, the club leaders were asked to participate in the MHS Equity Panel, where students from minority clubs like GSA and Women of Color participated in a discussion about their perspectives as minorities. The discussion touched on topics such as similarities between religions and the daily experiences of minorities.

“I really hope they do one this year,” Abdi commented. “It was very productive.”

Other highlights included MSA’s Ramadan celebration. Everyone at MHS, including MHS staff, was invited to come celebrate the Muslim holiday with food and socializing. They plan to host the event again this year in May, and there is an open invitation to everyone at MHS.

A group is only as good as its advisor. Ms. Daldoul, or Ms. D as her students call her, is the vibrant, passionate, and loud advisor for MSA. She has been an English Language Learning (ELL) teacher here at Minnetonka for fourteen years. She personally has a Muslim son and has had numerous Muslim students in her classroom, so when asked if she would be the advisor to this newly found group last year, it came to no surprise for her. She has spread the word about MSA to her fellow teachers, and has helped to put most of the events together.

Daldoul believes that it’s important that “every student regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or orientation have support at MHS.”

There is an MSA meeting every other Tuesday that is open to all. Stop by Ms. Daldoul’s room in 2608 to get involved.

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