Taking a look around campus will confirm one thing: UTSA’s student population is diverse.

Many different religions, cultures and values are represented by a range of student groups.

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) is one of those groups. They aim their goals toward three sub-groups: non-Muslims, Muslims, and the San Antonio community.

For non-Muslims, MSA strives to spread awareness and eliminate stereotypes about Islam. To accomplish this, weekly tabling events are held around campus where information pamphlets are passed out and peaceful conversations are struck up with students who are passing by.

Other events, like Islamic Awareness Week, which aims to foster interfaith dialogue, are held throughout the year. During these events, MSA works to engage the student population and stresses the importance of setting aside differences while respecting others’ beliefs.

Islamic Awareness Week also provides an opportunity for MSA to educate and inform students about different aspects of the Muslim faith.

For Muslims, MSA provides a social and religious environment on campus. Muslim students who aren’t always able to dedicate a time or place to pray may find one MSA opportunity valuable.

“We have a Friday prayer service every week in the UC, meant to be convenient to students who don’t have the accommodations to make it to a local mosque or who don’t have time to leave campus between classes,” MSA president Ahmad Kaki said.

Aside from that, MSA also holds biweekly open floor discussions after their general meetings and hosts educational speakers from out of town and local speakers who lecture on campus about a variety of subjects.

For the broader San Antonio community, MSA is a service organization.

“Last year, we volunteered at a local start-up called Feed the Need, where we helped make lunch bags, bags filled with hygiene products and passed them out downtown,” Kaki said.

Doing monthly volunteer work with different organizations is something MSA strives for. From the Ronald McDonald House to Habitat for Humanity, MSA works to serve the needs of the organizations and help the community. MSA also participates in charity fundraisers.

“Last year,” Kaki said, “we were able to raise $800 for a charity dedicated to helping out refugees in war-torn Syria.”

During Islamic Awareness Week last year, the MSA talked about women in Islam, the relationship between Islam and other monotheistic faiths and the relationship between the Quran and modern science.

This year, the MSA plans to close Islamic Awareness Week with an event on Sharia Law: what it means to Muslims and what it means to everyone in the United States. Interested students can look forward to that sometime in November.

For more information and to contact MSA about meeting dates and times, visit www.utsa-msa.org

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