The Muslim Student Association, or MSA for short, has recently become a part of Leesville’s impressive repertoire of clubs. While there was only about 15 people at interest meeting Wednesday, December 13, the club holds potential to make a difference at Leesville.
Abdullah Alqadi, a Leesville sophomore founded the club this school year. Although there has never been a Muslim Student Association at this LRHS, there have been in several other schools in and around Wake County.
“I was really close friends with a senior last year who founded [a MSA] at Cary, so I mean, his work and how much effort he put into [MSA] inspired me to do the same thing at Leesville,” said Alqadi.
Alqadi experience as a Muslim at Leesville further inspired and hopes that the MSA will be able to challenge stereotypes, as well as instil a sense of community in his fellow Muslims.
“[MSA is] a way for other Muslim students to explore volunteer opportunities; it’s a way for non-Muslim students to break stereotypes they have of fellow Muslims students in their school; and a way for upperclassmen to help the underclassmen because they have four years of high school experience and then freshmen that are just coming in, like their only friend group could be from middle school and this way they could meet new people,” said Alqadi.
Although the Leesville community has a fairly tolerant atmosphere, there has been a surge of hate crimes against Muslims nationwide– and much of it has to do with the portrayal of Islam and its followers by national figures. Influential people, such as our current President Donald Trump, have added fuel to the fire with comments that are based on harmful stereotypes. Comments such as his suggestion to indefinitely ban all Muslims from entering the United States after terrorists attacks have only served to alienate Muslims from other Americans and paint them as extremists.
“I don’t think necessarily just at Leesville, but I think there’s a lot of stereotypes not just with Muslims, because a lot of the times people, they don’t know other Muslims, they just see what they see on the news so they could be bias, they could not be biased,” said Alqadi.
Alqadi hopes that the MSA will destroy those stereotypes and promote community with both the Muslim students and the other Leesville students; not only for this school year, for many years to come.
“I [would like to] see if [MSA] would last even after I graduate, like, consistent numbers would show up to the club so that it would last for years and years, not just for one year or after I graduate.”