Kristen Dragotto, A&E Editor

The Muslim Student Association hosted an event April 16. The MSA decided to hold the event after the Christchurch shootings that happened in New Zealand last month. Shooter Brenton Tarrant committed two consecutive terrorist attacks on mosques located in Christchurch, New Zealand. What prompted Tarrant’s actions were racism and white supremacy.

University of Missouri–St. Louis’ MSA hosted this event which allowed students to come to a safe place and discuss the shootings and their causes. The president of MSA, Wallat Baban, senior, pre-medical studies, MC’d. Baban explained that the main purpose was to bring people together and talk about Islamophobia, terrorism and white supremacy. Baban stated, “those three topics all relate not only to the Christchurch shooting but the current political issues we have today.”

Tackling the topic of Islamophobia, Baban explained to the audience how the Muslim communities view extremist groups that identify with the Islamic faith stating, “going by the Quran, these groups of people are devoid of faith of Islam because they are not following the teachings of Islam.” He continued the conversation by discussing the common misconceptions and myths about Islam. Baban explained how Islamophobia tied in to the political ideology of white supremacy and how that tied in to the Christchurch shootings.

The MSA concluded the information session with a moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the Christchurch shootings. After the moment of silence, the MSA offered food for those who attended the event. Further reinforcing this idea of students coming together.

The MSA hosts events throughout the semester in an attempt to reach the student population. In turn allowing for students to educate themselves on a faith that they might not of had the opportunity to learn about otherwise. Baban stated, “The events we host are a way of showcasing what it means to be a Muslim.” Events hosted by the MSA can be found on the Office of Student Involvement calendar. This organization also has a Facebook page called @UMSLMSA.

This most recent event hosted by the MSA goes to show how UMSL’s mission of transforming lives is carried out through student organizations like this one. In the wake of a tragedy, the MSA took the opportunity to give their peers the opportunity to educate themselves and ask questions about Islam and what it means to be Muslim.