Muslim Student Association holds speak up

Rosie Morehead, Multimedia Contributor

Last night, students and faculty came together to share their feelings, fears and concerns. The Muslim Speak Up event took place in the Learning Innovation Center.

The Vice President of the Muslim Student Association Azeem Hussaini created this event only a few days ago, not knowing what to expect with the last minute planning. He describes the event as wanting it to be lightly scheduled, so he could see what everyone might be feeling like doing.

“We organized the event literally a couple days ago so we didn’t have enough time to do anything. I didn’t want to have an agenda set I wanted the combo to be organic and I think that happened,” Hussaini said.

Hussaini describes his experiences as sharing his feelings as relieving, so he wanted to create this event to allow other students from not only the MSA, but around campus to have that same opportunity.

“After I speak I feel a lot better. And I think other students feel that too. So I wanted to give them that platform and space,” Hussaini said. “Let them know that someone is listening.”

Some students from the MSA and other students that heard about the event also spread the word to faculty, which included Yalda Asmatey, who teaches ethnic studies here at Oregon State University.

Asmatey observed but also spoke, and was very happy with the turnout.

“It wasn’t a night of demands of ‘we want this done’ and ‘this is how it should be done’ or ‘down the university’ that’s not what this was,” Asmatey said. “I think it was a great turnout and I think the people that talked all spoke from the heart and I’m just glad that the rest of us were here to witness that.”

Senior public health student Maysa Shakibnia also spoke at the event, where she explained her feelings and worries that she has been dealing with.

“I know a lot of us have quite a bit we want to share and during this time it’s really easy to feel alone and scared so just building the community and having people to lean on is really powerful and appealing,” Shakibnia said.

Shakibnia admired that there were not just students from the MSA but from people that are affected in different ways.

“I saw a lot of people I knew so just to know that people in my own social circles that aren’t maybe directly affected by what’s going on feel the need to come out and support other individuals that are feeling marginalized,” Shakibnia said.

According to Hussaini, the MSA is starting to become bigger this year, and they hope to take more steps with events like this.

“Hopefully we will have a lot more events, creating more social awareness and building bridges. So that is something we are going to try and do for spring and upcoming quarters,” Hussaini said.

Asmatey explains what she thinks this group can do from here on.

“It is a newly organized group, student organization. I think they now feel empowered that they can go to certain individuals, that there are certain allies on this campus that in fact the administration wants to work with the Muslim population on this campus,” Asmatey said.

On Twitter: @Rosie_Baro

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