The Muslim Students Association Aims To Dispel Stereotypes
FeaturesGeneral Features April 11, 2012 Admin
BY JESSICA WEAVER
Living in a country where many inaccurate stereotypes are perpetuated, those of the Muslim faith are often misunderstood. In order to change the misconceptions of millions you must start somewhere. The Cooper City High School Muslim Students Association, created by 10th grader Salma Kahn, aims to be the starting point for this change. Only a sophomore, Kahn started the organization with the hope of making a difference in Cooper City and the world.
The Muslim Students Association (MSA) is not just another club created solely to pad a student’s resume. It was created with a purpose behind it. Living in Cooper City for ten years, Khan had always felt different from other residents because of her religion as well as appearance. Being Muslim and wearing the traditional headdress, she stood out from other students and found herself having a hard time adjusting to the social aspect of high school. Because of this, she decided to start the MSA to bring together others who faced the same problems.
The MSA allows Muslim students at CCHS to come together to discuss different aspects of their culture as well as educate other students. In the club, members learn more about their religion and the importance of their cultural practices. The club offers different activities such as Arabic writing classes and a variety of guest speakers. MSA has given Muslim students at Cooper City High the ability to explore their religion as well as share who they are with others.
“MSA means a lot to me. It’s where I can share my views, ideas, and beliefs,” Kahn said.
Khan’s goals for the club are to dispel Muslim stereotypes as well as educate the student body about the religion itself. MSA gives non-Muslim students the opportunity to learn about a religion unfamiliar to them.
“I have people come up to me and ask me a lot of arrogant questions.” Khan said, “For example, the day after Osama Bin Laden died, this kid stopped me in the hall and asked ‘how does it feel that your dad is dead?’ I couldn’t even say anything in defense, because people don’t know who we really are.”
MSA is not just for Muslims. The club welcomes students of all religions and cultural views. In fact, the club is already quite diverse and holds an annual culture day where members bring in famous dishes from different cultures. The clubs open-mindedness of other religions sets the example of how the whole student body should be.
As president, Khan has many future plans for the club. The foremost is that MSA continues on after her high school years, as well as expands. Another aspiration for the club is to change people’s perception about what it means to be Muslim. With this goal in mind, the club hopes to hold an actual Culture Awareness Week that teaches students about not just the Muslim religion, but other religions as well. Although the club is new this year to CCHS, MSA has already made quite an impact and hopes to share that with others.
“The Muslim club has made us stronger as a group and has created a sense of pride within us.” Khan said.