Breaking down barriers

Julia Esparza, Editor in Chief

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Since 9/11 Americans have remained wary of any Muslim. This caution has set strict sects within society that aggravate the already tense situation. Today ignorance is not bliss; it can’t be in the global community which we reside.

At Lincoln-Way East High School the Muslim Student Association works at breaking down the cultural barriers that prevent peace. MSA dedicates it’s time to explaining the Muslim customs to those who are not aware. “Each meeting is aimed toward explaining the different sides of the Muslim culture such as clothing or family life,” explains MSA sponsor Joshua Holder. Since its establishment in 2014, the club has been advocating friendship and understanding. MSA held a food drive in support of the victims of the Chapel Hill Shooting. Representative Shereen Ramaha explains, “We thought it would be a proactive thing to do since the victims were so active in their community.”

As tensions continue to rise in the wake of ISIS advancements and the Charlie Hebdo attack, MSA’s importance grows by the day. MSA alleviates the divide due to lack of knowledge. MSA has sought to inform the Lincoln-Way community through directly connecting students to answers. Recently, the club joined together with our International Club run by Mrs. Slusarski and Ms. Bobber. At the meeting MSA presented a slide show explaining many concepts about the Muslim culture. They brought food for members to try, displayed traditional Muslim attire, and even took volunteers to have their head wrapped in a hijab.

Middle-eastern instability coupled with a lack of understanding on the every-day American’s part extends the social war. The group of people who make up Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, and other terrorist groups is only a fraction of the world-wide Muslim community. The topic of terrorism is a chief discussion talked about at meetings. “Spread awareness and build friendships with other Muslims and non-Muslims,” states Rahmaha. The stereotype of the middle-eastern remains a fundamental issue.  “Many people, though admittedly the number has decreased in the past years, see the Muslim faith as a completely foreign thing,” continues Holder.

At no point in time has education played a more powerful and altering role. By understanding students are able to form independent opinions. The high degree of apathy throughout the world in regards to the Middle-east must come to an end. We must lay down our guarded egos if we wish to advance and move past the dark days of needless terrorism. Perhaps, through clubs like Muslim Student Association, we can begin to mend the broken nations and families that have become victims of ignorance and build a shelter of peace and compassion lain upon the foundation of knowledge.

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