Muslim Student Association Expanding Cultural Mindsets
April 26, 2010
Muslim Student Association (MSA) members have been busy this year, with their studies, sports and co-curricular activities, but they've also been working to expand awareness of the variations in Muslim culture and thinking.
Last month, the group hosted a documentary film, Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, followed by a panel discussion led by the film's producers, Alex Kronemer and Nancy A. Khalil. "It was extremely exciting. MSA put a lot of effort into managing this event and advertising it. Along with our adviser, we managed to attract a number of students, teachers and members from the Exeter community," says senior day student, Joud.
The strong turnout included PEA English classes, several dozen Exeter High School students and faculty, and members of the local community. Kronemer described the discussion after the movie as "passionate" and said audience members appeared to have a desire to "seek peace through knowledge."
"I think the movie managed to really encompass the thoughts and beliefs of the different Muslims from around the world," says Joud.
Based on the book of the same title, the film examines results of one of the first major opinion polls of Muslims, compiled from more than 50,000 interviews of individual and group leaders representing 1.3 billion Muslims. The poll was conducted by Gallup and explored a variety of topics, including: the idea that the East and West are bound for war; issues of gender justice; and terrorism and democracy. The results accentuated a shared relationship, history and culture between Muslim countries and the West.
"This is the only documentary I have seen that actually addresses the misconceptions that people in the West have of Islam. This is something that should be seen all over the country," says Ahmad, a lower from Framingham, MA.
In addition to this forum, MSA also hosts Halaqas – weekly study circles that are open to the PEA community – and they recently participated with Exeter Social Service Organization volunteering at the Cor Unum Meal Center in Lawrence, MA. "It's great to volunteer as a member of the MSA because in the Quran we are encouraged to help others and the less fortunate, and this is a way that we can all commit good deeds as the MSA," says Ahmad.
Learn more about MSA and other student clubs. . .
Learn more about the film . . .