Mohamed Awo 4/16/14 A Broad Look at the MSA: The Muslim Student Association The day was Thursday February

27th, 2014 on a sunny evening in which I sat in on a MSA meeting on the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus in the College of Education building. I sat in on meetings before but this time I had to detach myself and become an observer in which I noticed these things to be true about the MSA (Muslim Student Association) and that is how close knit the organization is in terms of how you see them interacting with each other. The other things that I noticed was how culturally diverse members were as well as the type of activities organized speaks upon the nature of this organization. I learned very quickly despite its smaller member size, the MSA was a very tight organization even looking at the treatment of new members or individuals that were not of Muslim faith that sat in on the meeting that day because you could tell by appearance in how the female members were wearing hijabs or a naqaab, and to tell the difference in the guys were there tone of voice in how you could tell they were from another country as most of the male members were international students/study-abroad. When I spoke with the MSA president and asked him the question, “How can members help improve the MSA?” His response was in looking at the attendance and that the organization ultimately can be helped by members bringing a friend or two and introduce them to Islam. This answer showed me quickly that the MSA president cares about this organization and wants it to succeed because he told me about his constant attendance when he was a member and how

this showed others that he could take the role of president of the organization. I had overheard conversations about sports mainly talks about soccer and basketball. The conversations were about reserving a spot in the Belk Gymnasium for one of these sports and having some friendly competition. This let me know that this was an organization that was willing to create relationships beyond the activities they did within the organization. I think this is well seen through the MSA’s twitter account which we see engagement like a tweet asking who’s fasting with them on the 3rd of April using the hashtag (#) fastathon because they used as a means to inform members on current events as they also regularly used their Facebook group in which they created to inform. I noticed how culturally diverse the organization was in how one of the planned events was to give out prayer rugs and mini copies of the Quran but not as a means to preach about Islam, but to educate students on campus what Islam is about. That showing them the media portrayal of Muslims is inaccurate. Also, seeing the way they treated the four non-Muslims who attended the meetings on April 3; another sunny afternoon and how they didn’t force Islam down their throats but engaged in conversing with them in getting to know why they came to the meeting. This relating to how I asked the president what how he felt other religious organizations could help the MSA, replying with “We can always interact with other religious organizations in how we can come together and generate ideas or see how they interact within their own organization.” The MSA organization helped me in seeing how a small sized organization could make an impact when seeing how the president feels that is respected on

campus because they stick together and are able to communicate with each other as well as others because they want to educate others on Islam as well as have fun because they are college students also.