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Photo via Muslim Student Association

Uniting voices: MSA and PSA host Dua’a night for Palestine

The Muslim Student Association and the Palestinian Student Association, along with other Muslim student organizations, hosted Dua’a Night for Palestine, a display of solidarity and commitment to raising awareness about the ongoing Palestinian struggle on Nov. 7.

The event was held in the University Center event room, featuring a wide range of guests and speakers who spoke on their thoughts and feelings about current events in the Middle East. 

Among the attendees were members of Montclair MSA, Rutgers Newark MSA, William Paterson MSA and the Students for Justice in Palestine chapters.

Sumaiya Rehman, a sophomore business law and management major, is the president of MSA. She said collaborating with other organizations for the night was “a great decision.”

“When our MSA and Palestinian Student Association introduced the idea to other schools, they were immediately on board,” Rehman said. “It was originally an individual project, but getting other organizations involved made twice as much of an impact.”

Rehman said not only was the event held to raise awareness for Palestine, but it was a show of unity as well.

“As Muslims, we have a strong belief that Dua’a, which means prayer, is the strongest thing a Muslim can do,” Rehman said. “The purpose of this night was to fulfill that, and unite religiously to show our solidarity for the people as well as the martyrs in Palestine who need our prayers.”

The night itself was filled with various discussions and dialogue, including testimonies and stories given by speakers who wished to share their experiences.

“There was one student speaker, Xana, from NJIT,” Rehman said. “A Palestinian herself who grew up for some time in Gaza, [gave] her speech about her family and her life which moved everyone to tears.”

Samia Raza, a junior communications major, said she appreciated hearing some of the powerful speeches.  

“One speech that truly struck me to the bottom of my heart was a speech given by Xana, who also happens to be one of my closest friends,” Raza said. “We went to middle school and high school together and hearing about her experience in Gaza left me feeling so heartbroken and sad.” 

Raza also said she was touched by a letter Xana wrote to those suffering in Gaza.  

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Other speakers included students from Seton Hall, including Rehman, the president of PSA and volunteer speakers Ayaz Rabbani and Aya Gusemalseed, who gave accounts of their thoughts and personal experiences.

Dr. Muneer Hamdeh, from the Islamic Center of Passaic County, came to speak on the importance of faith during times of struggle.

“After the speakers, there was a powerful prayer which fulfilled the purpose of the night,” Rehman said. “With time left over in the end, we were able to open up the floor to other students who wanted to share their thoughts and feelings or say a couple of words about what is currently happening to Gaza.”

Salma Ibrahim, a junior biology major, described the emotional scene. 

“I looked back and saw everyone in tears–I’m not exaggerating,” Ibrahim said. “Sadly, today the world knows Palestine by its ruins, death and occupation.”  

Despite the notion of Palestine as a place of war and death, Ibrahim said she and others were able to hear of a different Palestine, one described fondly by speakers.

“In this day and age, we constantly say ‘never again’ or ‘don’t let history repeat itself’–yet this is exactly what we are witnessing right now,” Rehman said. “We see Palestinians being displaced more and more after 75 years. We see the rise in hate crimes against Muslims, bringing us back to the way Muslims were treated after [Sept. 11].”

Rehman said that now is not the time to be silent.

“Stand up and speak up,” Rehman said. “And if you don’t, you are a part of the repetition of a genocide–one that we have witnessed before.”

Jonathan Rivera can be reached at 


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