The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Muslim Student Association’s Purpose Goes Beyond Faith

Club members listen to the presentation at the first meeting. The tenets of Islam and the subject of Islamophobia were the main discussions. (Photo by Leo Ambrogelly)

Every other Friday in room 3202, members of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) gather to build community and learn about Islam. At the first meeting on Oct. 22, students of similar backgrounds met for the first time. The tenets of Islam and the prevalence of Islamophobia were discussed during the meeting’s presentation. 

Under the leadership of the club’s president, Ali Elfarra, the prioritization of constructing a sanctuary on-campus for Muslim students has remained the club’s focus through the trials of time.

At the start of the school year, Elfarra sought guidance from Social Sciences teacher Allison Williams as the club’s advisor. Williams, who had advised MSA in the past, was eager to work alongside Elfarra to rebuild the club’s role on-campus. Although the club had taken a two-year hiatus during distance learning, Elfarra was up for the challenge, driven by the hope of sharing his appreciation and understanding of Islam. 

“I know there’s not many Muslims here, so it’s not gonna be a club generally with just Muslims,” Elfarra said. “It’s a club mostly of people who are interested or willing to learn.”

Support from the Sage Creek community is of prime importance to the club. Williams hopes that her presence as the club’s advisor will encourage students who may not identify with the religion to join. As a previous advisor to the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) and current advisor to Black Student Union (BSU), Williams has become familiar with the importance of allyship. 

“I think it’s important to open the doors for others to kind of follow and do the same so I hope I can kind of help be a model for other people who aren’t sure,” Williams said.

Club members stop for a photo at the end of the club’s first meeting. Members met with one another for the first time while being introduced to the club’s purpose. (Photo by Leo Ambrogelly)

During Club Rush, MSA found their booth to be a success with a number of new members joining, however, the disrespect the club experienced could not go unnoticed. Elfarra recalls Club Rush as a day that reinforced the purpose of the association itself. A culture of allyship and safety is one that MSA hopes to enforce this year as it may be more important now than ever before.

“During club rush, I got a lot of side-eyes, I got a lot of rude comments and just rude acts and I really hope no Muslim on this campus will have to experience that and that’s honestly my main goal,” Elfarra said.  

Running the club beside Elfarra is the club’s vice president, Jake Alnapulsi. Both Elfarra and Alnapulsi who are currently in their junior year strive to grow MSA for the betterment of the culture on-campus. This aspiration goes beyond the club’s primary focus in the eyes of Alnapulsi. 

“I think it’s important to spread awareness of the cause of the club which is to normalize sharing religion, not even just Islam.”

At upcoming meetings, the group plans on discussing and learning more about topics relevant to Muslim students. Williams has confidence in the direction the club is taking under Elfarra and hopes that her classroom can become a place of unity during MSA meetings. 

“[The club is] an important space for students to come together that have common experiences and beliefs,” Williams said. “I think that sometimes that’s missing.”

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