Amid the current crisis in Palestine, Muslim students at Seton Hall came together for a night of family and friends, diverse cuisines and speeches from guest speakers.
The Muslim Student Association hosted Muslims Around the World, an annual charity event that promotes an appreciation for the various cultures among Muslim students, on Nov. 20.
The event included guest speakers Ahmed Sehwail, the Youth Coordinator for the Islamic Center of Passaic County, and Hafeth Wadi, from Ummah Professionals, a group that provides Muslim college students mentorship on career development.
Sumaiya Rehman, a sophomore business law major and president of MSA, said Muslims Around the World is the organization’s “biggest event of the semester.”
“It's basically a night where we bring together all the different cultures and diversity amongst Muslims and non-Muslims on campus and we basically celebrate it in a sense where we come together,” Rehman said. “Usually the lecture we have is about unity amongst brotherhood and sisterhood and we have food from a bunch of different cuisines, which makes it all the more fun.”
Rehman said as the host for the night, she acknowledged the current events in Palestine.
“I was like, ‘Listen everybody, I know this is a tough time that we’re in right now and it might be tough for a lot of people to leave their houses and to enjoy their time right now when so many people across the world are suffering—but that’s what makes it so important,’” Rehman said.
Rehman said “the whole purpose of the event is to bring everyone together.”
“We have so many Palestinian Muslim and non-Muslim students at our school that it’s important to bring everyone together at this time,” Rehman said. “If we aren’t an organization to stand up, then essentially who will? It’s our job to make a difference.”
The proceeds went to Islamic Relief USA, an organization that provides aid to Islamic communities in need.
“As a Muslim student organization, we don't want to shy away from that,” Rehman said. “We already had our prayer night for Palestine as well, and if we don’t do things for the right cause, then who is?”
Rehman said the turnout was much larger than she anticipated.
“As stressful as it was to add four tables in the middle of the event, honestly, it just made everything so much better,” Rehman said. “It just showed that our MSA and our event had attracted so many people that it was there to make a difference.”
Rehman said she primarily enjoyed “seeing everything come together.”
“It was a lot of chaos, but at the same time, it just came to prove the whole idea of the event—bringing people together,” Rehman said.
Aya Gusemalseed, a sophomore diplomacy law major and a member of MSA, said the event “emphasizes the different cultures and the different traditions” that Muslim students share. Still, there is the need to build community among them, she said.
“We all follow the same religion at the end of the day and that doesn’t make us any different from the other,” Gusemalseed said.
Gusemalseed said the event served as an “escape” for students of Palestinian descent.
“It was always necessarily a way for them to kind of escape everything that’s going on, but also at the same time, they know that their presence there also makes a difference,” Gusemalseed said.
Gusemalseed said Sehwail, the first guest speaker, expressed that the campus community must be “united as one, especially in times like right now with the conflicts.”
“It just makes it much more important for everybody to unite under the eyes of not just God, but the University as a whole,” Gusemalseed said.
Gusemalseed said the event offers Muslim students a community to be a part of.
“It’s so rare to see everyone that you know and everyone who’s in the community to be all together at one time in one room,” Gusemalseed said. “It’s one thing that we kind of look forward to.”
Samia Raza, a junior communication major, said that more than ever, Muslims “need to be unified.”
“Especially now, when there is so much hate against Muslims, it’s really important that we’re there for each other,” Raza said. “It’s important to show that there is unity there, brothers and sisters, who will step up for the Muslim community and just be there for you—and that’s what this event showcased.”
Peyton Hruska can be reached at email@example.com