Sameer Islam, in black, speaks at a Muslim Students Association meeting last year. He is the group’s “Da’wa” coordinator, an Arabic term related to Islamic preaching. (Amer Taleb)
By Amer Taleb
Last fall, more than 20 Muslim students joined the University of Arizona’s Muslim Students Association. The UA-funded club connects the campus’ Muslim students, encourages them to improve their community and strengthens their Islamic identity. We spoke with Sameer Islam, a UA pharmacy graduate student and the club’s Da’wa coordinator (Islamic preaching), about the MSA’s fall 2011 experiences and their plans are for the spring.
Tucson Minaret: 3 words, describe the fall semester.
Sameer Islam: Challenging. Blessing. Successful.
TM: At the beginning of last year, some of your members were talking about disbanding the MSA because of a lack of involvement. You’ve come a long way.
SI: Alhamdulilah (Arabic for “praise be to God”), we coordinated Eid Al-Adha and the Eid picnic, held a few Da’wa tables on campus and our Tucson Meet Yourself booth was a success, someone even converted at the event. The student involvement this semester was tremendous and it says a lot about our commitment to boosting the Tucson Muslim community.
TM: How about the areas you need to improve on?
SI: Haha. There’s always room for improvement and Insha’Allah (God willing) we’ll be more consistent next semester. Although our unity was solid, I expect it to become even stronger. We’d also like to have more members, but even more important is getting people that are committed. We want active members.
TM: How much support did you get from the Islamic Center of Tucson and the Muslim community?
SI: A lot. It’s based on their feedback that I feel like we’re having a positive impact on the community and I hope we can continue to do that.
TM: How does the Muslim community benefit from supporting the MSA?
SI: We’re the future leaders of this community and their support is vital to our success. We’re an alternative to the negative things many of the Muslim youth are involved in. The MSA is part of this community, not a separate entity. I hope people see the MSA’s benefits and recognize what we can do with their support. We have so much potential.