Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
Thursday, August 16, 2018 2:12 pm

Clubs: Muslim Student Association

Time: Fridays, 2:15 Ė 3 p.m.
Place: Room 131
Sponsor: Sawsan Darwish
President: Areeb Quasem
Every Friday afternoon, peacefulness engulfs the 130s hallway as 15 to 20 students gather in room 131 with a purpose. When everyone arrives, senior Areeb Quasen starts the meeting by reciting the azaan, Arabic for "call to prayer." These students make up the Muslim Student Association (MSA), which meets every Friday afternoon to pray and discuss both personal and school-related issues.

When Quasem, president of the MSA, arrived at Blair in 2004, the association had been defunct for a few years. Quasem decided to re-start the club because of the importance of prayer in Islam and the ethnic diversity at Blair. "In Islam, praying the Friday prayer is vital and obligatory," Quasem says. "In many schools, students do not have this opportunity due to the lack of Muslims in the school. But Blair is a very understanding, diverse school with many Muslims."

When foreign language teacher Sawsan Darwish came to Blair last year, Quasem approached her about becoming the MSA's new sponsor. Fortunately for the MSA, Darwish agreed. "I like that they have a place to do their prayers because it's very important in Islam to do your prayers, and [the MSA] gives them a time and place to do it," Darwish says.

Because Friday is typically the day Muslims receive off, the club holds a special Friday prayer called the Jumu'ah. "If you know anything about Muslims, Friday is usually their day off and they usually go to the Mosques to pray but since they can't do it, they just meet together and pray," Darwish explains.

During meetings, students pray, discuss activities they can do as a club and talk about school-related, personal or religious issues. "They help each other and if they have difficulty with one class or if they have any issues with anything, they get together and resolve it," Darwish says.

Non-Muslim students are welcome to join the club as well. "I would encourage anybody if they're interested in joining or even if they're coming to visit," Darwish says. "We have a few students who donít know how to pray, they just come in. We welcome everybody."

If interested in joining the Muslim Student Association, please contact Sawsan Darwish or Areeb Quasem.

Club beat by Alisa Lu