Muslim Student Association Helps Celebrate Diversity at Nottingham
Published on 10/26/17
District News Extra-Curricular Nottingham High School
Stop by the Behavior Intervention Center at Nottingham High School on Friday afternoons and you’ll find a unique sight: students and staff taking part in Jumah prayer.
“Students and staff in most cases are not able to attend during the school year, so we are grateful to have the ability to have a Jumah Prayer here,” Social Studies teacher Ramy Seyam said.
Thanks to the school’s Muslim Student Association (MSA), students and staff – regardless of their religion – are invited to attend the prayer each week. For Muslims, Jumah prayer is one of the most important prayers of the week, traditionally taking place at a mosque at 1 pm on Fridays. It consists of a Khutbah, a lecture, followed by a prayer. At Nottingham, lecture topics vary based upon student suggestions and generally touch on universal issues like how to get along with each other, how to be patient and the importance of being kind.
“Anyone can come, and anyone can be a part of MSA,” senior Imane Aitnajim said. “It’s about a sense of community. Often times, all people know of Islam is based on what they see in the media. MSA is a chance for us to learn from each other and share what we really represent.”
In addition to the weekly prayer, MSA holds weekly club meetings where all students are welcome to join discussions ranging from prayer to daily life as a Muslim to what Islam means to them and more. Students stress the inclusive intention of the group.
“MSA brings us all together,” junior Najib Daoud explained. “It’s really important. MSA allows us all a chance to relate and talk to each other, and to be part of something. It’s a learning factor for others who aren’t Muslim, and that’s empowering. Sometimes, people look at certain groups in a certain way, and MSA lets us show who we really are. We may all look different and come from different countries, but we all have something in common and this is a place for us to come together.”
“Every year, we have several students who are not Muslim join us, either in meetings or in prayer,” Mr. Seyam added. “I believe it not only helps Nottingham and Syracuse celebrate diversity, but it also helps in breaking down some of the walls that stereotypes and the media have created. Our students and staff know that within the walls of MSA, they are welcome, safe, and most importantly, accepted.”
Now in its sixth year at Nottingham, each year, the MSA finds a community cause to help support through fundraisers. Last year, students donated $400 to the Rahma Clinic, a local health clinic. They also donated baskets of toiletries to refugee families in Syracuse. Students said they want to continue finding ways to give back.
What a great way to celebrate our #SCSDDiversity!