Muslim Student Alliance Hopes to Create Dialogue on Campus
When freshman Abdulhady Homed ’22 came to St. John Fisher College, he found it was difficult to transition into his new environment, and a lot of stress came from walking through the halls and not seeing people that look like him. After a few days of having no close friends to talk to, Homed decided to make a change.
At the same time, Dr. David Bell and Father Kevin Mannara were looking to create an opportunity for Muslim students to build a community on campus and held an informational meeting to gauge interest. Homed, with several other Muslim students, attended the meeting and formed an alliance.
The newly founded Muslim Student Alliance Association (MSAA), led by Homed as president of the club, is an opportunity for Muslim students to connect and is open to anyone who wants to learn more about the Muslim faith.
For Homed, this alliance means much more than making new friends, it is about changing perceptions. His parents were skeptical of his choice to come to Fisher because of its perceived lack of diversity. Homed is looking to change that perception and set the example for future Muslim students, and he hopes his younger family members will want to come to the College someday.
Along with the club, through Homed’s request, Fr. Mannara is working to have Muslim culture more represented in the campus prayer room.
“It takes the students identifying what their needs are in order for us to serve them,” said Mannara.
Homed finally found his group on campus. He strongly encourages anyone to come to MSAA meetings. For Homed, it is an opportunity to teach the Fisher community more about his faith and his culture. His core mission is to make Muslim and non-Muslim students more knowledgeable about the religion and to feel more comfortable with one another.
“There’s a lot of messages to say that it’s not okay to be yourself. If you come to these meetings, you let these Muslims know that you accept our identity,” he explained. “Islam is my identity; it is the first thing I say about myself. By you coming to these meetings, you’re telling me you accept who I am, you’re accepting Islam, and it makes me feel okay.”
MSAA meets from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. every Friday and from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays in the Office of Campus Ministry. For more information, email Abdulhady Homed.
This article was written by Chris Murray. A senior majoring in media and communication with a minor in management, Murray is an intern with the College’s Office of Marketing and Communications.