Monday, December 11, 2017

Camosun student club provides space for Muslim students to come together

March 1, 2017 by Jeremy Vargas, contributing writer

The Camosun Muslim Students Association (MSA) club is a place for Muslims and people interested in Islam to enjoy, grow, and feel comfortable. Second-year Camosun University Transfer student Lindsay Budge is the MSA president; she says the club was also formed because a lot of Muslims on campus simply wanted a space to do something with other Muslims.

“We’re a place where Muslims can come to meet together and explore their faith, enjoy our events, and put forward events to do in an Islamic environment,” says Budge.

Lindsay Budge of the Camosun Muslim Students Association (photo by Jill Westby).

The group puts on social events like laser tag outings and educational events, including topics such as female sex ed from an Islamic perspective. Budge says that these events are made to give Muslims and others at Camosun a place where they don’t have to worry about doing anything that they may be uncomfortable with.

“We have some restrictions that make it sometimes more difficult to do events with the greater community,” says Budge. “So it gives you a place where you don’t have to worry about rubbing against something that you’re not comfortable with.”

Second-year Arts and Science Studies student Mahinur Efe is an MSA member; she first learned about the club through a laser-tag event some of her friends were going to.

“On my first year here we had a laser-tag event with the members of the Camosun MSA,” says Efe. “I got to know some people that I am now really close friends with.”

Budge hopes the MSA can be a space for Muslims to grow during their college experience.

“They’re faced with a lot more people, a lot more social structures, a lot more ideas,” says Budge. “They are also looking at new ways of thinking, new ways of understanding, and things like that. So a lot of people end up having to look back in on themselves and say, ‘What do I actually believe?’”

Efe says that the MSA has given them a feeling of empowerment and made their college life way better.

“If I didn’t know these people, if I didn’t have this kind of support around me, my college life would be harder,” she says.

The MSA Facebook group has 33 members and Budge says there are more on the emailing list. Still, often only a handful of people show up at an event.

“I think the problem is the divide between the campuses,” says Budge. “We cannot really ask someone from Interurban to come all the way here [Lansdowne] just for something and vice versa. A lot of people from Lansdowne are not going to go to Interurban.”

Budge is hopeful that the group will grow and that it will continue when she leaves.

“I’m leaving next year, “says Budge. “I want other people see the benefit of it, and try to grow it more.”

Efe says that she has seen people from various backgrounds—including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, and Canada—become involved in the club.

“It’s such a diverse group,” she says. “We all come together because we are Muslim and we just want to do things, socialize, connect together, and send a positive message; that’s my favorite part of the MSA.”

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