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  • Julian Reynoso

First Ever Event Held by the Canisius Muslim Student Association

By: Julian Reynoso, Contributor

The first Halalsgiving was held on Tuesday evening at the Science Hall Commons. The general reception to the first Halalsgiving was held on Nov. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. This was the Muslim Student Association’s (MSA) first-ever event at Canisius since their club began earlier this semester.

Leyla A. Akil of MSA stated, “The purpose of the Muslim Student Association Club at Canisius University shall be to hold events related to promoting friendship and unity between the Muslim students and the Canisius community.” She continued, “We strive to bridge the gap between what has been misconceived about Islam by hosting general body meetings, seminars, food festivals and other educational events.”

Akil explained that the word “halal” equates to “permissible” in English, meaning that something adheres to Islamic law. Foods categorized as halal are those that fall within the established guidelines. 

Hours before they began, the e-board set up the Halalsgiving. During this time, members brought everything they needed to the Science Hall Commons, expressing excitement and nervousness for their first event.

Akil stated that the goal of Halasgiving was to “formally introduce [MSA] to the wider Canisius community.” MSA catered halal food from Alibaba Kebab on 900 William St. They served the food to the students following the e-board’s individual introductions.

 Their current e-board consists of Fatuma Sidali the president, Priya Ahmed the vice president, Saleh Sawkot the secretary, Summaia Uddin the treasurer and Akil, who works as the group’s webmaster/social media coordinator.   

Akil talked about the importance of the club. She said, “I am a Muslim woman, and throughout my education I have never come across an affinity club for Muslim students.” As Akil “went to a predominantly white high school where there were not many Muslim students,” MSA’s place at Canisius is valuable to her. 

 Vice President Ahmed said the expected turnout was about 100 students. When all was said and done, they swiped in over 70 students for their first event with a full e-board.

Students ate food together at tables in the commons and were educated about Muslim culture and traditions while music was playing on the speakers. 

Akil stated, “Islam teaches Muslims to be kind and respectful of all, no matter how different they may be.” Furthermore, “There are many stereotypes and misinformation around Muslims and Islam, and we hope through our events and presence on campus, we can help break those chains of thought.” 

Earlier in the semester, club advisor Dr. Shyam Sriram held a gathering to explain MSA and recruit students for the club. After this, he held elections for the e-board positions where students voted for their representation.

During the event there were videos and games to help students engage with learning about Islam in a fun way. Akil was hopeful that this would provide the opportunity to educate “those unfamiliar with Islam,” and said, “Going forward, we look forward to making our meetings and events more fun and informative.”

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