Bellevue College is home to the Muslim Student Association, where students who practice Islam can find a place where they can feel connected with other Muslims. Meetings are held in the student lounge A-265 on Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m. “We’ll talk about the certain qualities that as a Muslim, we’re supposed to hold be it honesty or trust. We talk about that and also how we can implement that into our lives,” says Ferdose Idris, one of the presidents of MSA. Community is a strong emphasis in MSA, and food is a great way of bringing people together. Idris also mentioned future potlucks and such events to come in the next few weeks of the quarter.
Mohammad Sarhan, a guest speaker at last week’s meeting, lead a discussion on Islam amongst the racially diverse Muslim students in the meeting. Sarhan was an MSA president at the University of Washington. Although he’s already graduated from the university, he still contributes to the Muslim community and is well-known for his inspirational discussions. “Islam is very misunderstood because of what the media shows. Whenever you watch the news, local news or national news, what do you hear about when they mention Muslims? Terrorism, riots, but that’s not what we’re about.” Students during the meeting discussed that “Muslims should guide their brothers and sisters. It is their duty to give the right image of Islam.”
MSA provides a place where Muslim students can come together and discuss about the meaning behind the text, and the significance of the religious teachings of Islam. “We need to look at the deeper meaning,” Sarhan explains, “We’re looking at the surface level of what Islam means. But we have to dig deeper.”
One member or MSA, Miriam Zeghmi, explained that the group was created “to help each of us rise to the full honor and dignity of being a human being by learning about our way of life.” For her, Islam isn’t simply an addition to her life, “Islam is the structure of my everyday life. It is a way of being every single day. In school I am as much a Muslim as I am outside. My hijab (the head covering worn in public by some Muslim women) ensures I am recognized as a Muslim and I would not have it any other way.”
In MSA, “we hope to implement it within ourselves first and foremost, and create community both within the Muslim student body and outside of it.”
Sarhan explained that “we focus on understanding the teachings of our beloved Prophet and the Qu’ran that stress on good character and treatment of others, recognizing that our actions impact a far greater circle than we can imagine. We combine our experiences to benefit, share, grow and understand that beyond every difference there are a million similarities.”