Muslims educate about faith

Ruben Perez, Reporter

The Muslim Student Association on campus held their inaugural event on Nov. 21. The MSA has only been together for about a month but were motivated to put on this event.

“Basically we decided to get together to show BC how Muslims really are,” said MSA member Shahab Alnagar. “We’re hard-working members of the USA and contrary to popular belief we don’t hate this country. We live here, we love it here.”

The event was an informational speech on what Islam is along with a Q-and-A with two of the most prominent figures in Bakersfield’s Muslim community, Emad Meerza and Sayed Rashed.

The first 40 minutes of the evening were an overview of the teachings of the Quran as well as a description of the prophet Mohammad’s teachings. The rest of the night was a Q-and-A where the audience was able to ask any questions they had regarding the Islamic faith and Mohammad.

Most of the questions asked were about the hijab, prayers, and traditions held by Muslims.

The Q-and-A went calmly until Israel was brought up. Rashed asked the audience to name one benefit we have received from Israel. At this, a woman walked out saying, “I’ve heard all I can take.”

After the event Rashed said, “I was hoping she could respond when I challenged ‘just give me one benefit’ and instead of standing out and saying here is a benefit she ran away, but I think after that everything was OK.”

In the second half of the Q-and-A, Meerza was discussing how Muslims have certain restrictions for what food they eat and how it is prepared, when a woman said we do not have the right to take away the life of an animal because it is a living thing. She left after being asked if she was a vegetarian and said yes.

“I think even the people that did walk out did get something from it,” said Sabah Shah, 16. “If it affects anyone, it spreads knowledge.”

Shah came to the event to learn more about Islam.

“I was born a Muslim and I did study a little bit on my own,” said Shah. “It was good to see some opposing points.”

Meerza spoke on the importance of the discussion.

“The idea is just to get rid of the ignorance and the falsehood, to get rid of the mistruths that create hatred, create fear, and create, quite frankly, bigotry,” said Meerza. “That’s all we’re trying to do. Our faith is in the spotlight much these days and there’s a lot of misinformation and the only way that’s going to be dealt with and clarified is in these kind of venues.”

Though this semester is almost over the MSA is planning several other educational events in the future.

“We’re already planning on, for the women, an event about the hijab and what’s behind it,” said Alnagar.