Muslim Students Association holds first ever meeting
By: Liam Murphy, Contributor
On Sept. 19, Canisius saw its first meeting for the new Muslim Student Association (MSA). Dr. Shyam Sriram, an assistant political science professor, is advising this new student association.
Despite the relatively sizable Muslim population in Buffalo, there are only a few other practicing Muslim faculty members. One goal is to “have freshman Muslims connect with one another,” said Dr. Sriram.
During the event, Dr. Sriram hosted a forum where students provided any possible ideas they had about what the club plans to do in the future.
Many of the ideas appeared to be feasible and accessible for the future of the association at Canisius. Some of the suggestions included acquiring more prayer rugs, expanding access to bidets and prayer screens for the cura personalis room in the library.
There was also discussion about adding more prayer space which would be near the writing center where one area is already located. Having the dining hall offer at least one halal option was also a suggestion.
Other topics were centered around the small Muslim population on campus. The association provides a space “for Muslims on campus and a place for non-Muslims to learn about Islam,” stated Dr. Sriram. Conversations emerged surrounding the implementation of preferential scheduling and introducing curriculum geared towards Arabic, Islamic calligraphy and more.
Before any of these plans are seen to fruition, the MSA first needs to become an official club run by passionate student leaders. The ALANA center and the Diversity Committee both voiced their support for any future events and granted accommodations for the organization. In under a day, prayer screens were added to the library prayer rooms.
Dr. Sriram hopes that with the creation of Canisius’s MSA, more and more Muslim students will gravitate towards Canisius and see that the Jesuit values are accepting of all religions and ethnicities. A little over 30 students and faculty showed up to the introduction of what the association may look like.
Provided by Dr. Sriram, there was a fantastic assortment of food from Alibaba Kebab on Williams St. The Griffin writer found that the smoked tandoori chicken wings were the best wings they’ve had in Buffalo up until this point.
This is just the beginning, however, as the club plans to expand and grow. At the event, Muslim upperclassmen said they felt little discrimination or Islamophobia on campus but still wished for an accepting religious environment and community to be involved due to how few Muslim students are on campus.
The addition of the MSA offers more inclusivity on campus. It seems that we are a far cry away from when the one prayer space was previously in the chapel’s broom closet.