Help Local MSAs
by Shadi Jabali, Carl Sandburg High School
Two years ago, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at Carl Sandburg High School achieved incredible heights with their weekly halaqas, or learning circles, averaging 50 attendees a week, some of whom stayed close to their communities and strived to serve, while even others made it their mission to memorize the entire Quran within the next five years. This was just the foundation among the many other feats acquired within a five month period. All of it was achieved with neither recognition nor funding from the school, but simply hard work and sincere hearts of dedicated volunteers. All praise and thanks are exclusively for Allah. The success of the Sandburg MSA was contagious. Richards and Stagg High Schools both caught on to the MSA movement and established their own Muslim student body which made the total number of students increase to over 150. It was as if tiny masajid were being built within the public high schools in Illinois. But this momentum seemed to have recently come to a halt due to the lack of resources, experience, guidance, and let's face it, funding. The flames seem to have died out in our public schools' Muslim identities and presence, and we're left with dimming sparks, which was the inspiration for Project SALAM.
Project SALAM (Student Association Leading the Advancement of Muslims) is a branch of MAS Youth Chicago that intends to act as the umbrella organization of MSAs in the Chicagoland area. We are offering the support and assistance of our community's MSAs through MAS Youth. Our experienced project leaders are ready to offer the mentorship and the opportunities (both financially and resourcefully, i.e. events, trips, etc.) to assist secondary and higher education students in either creating or reviving, and then maintaining, Muslim groups in their schools in order to guide our children who may have gotten lost or are fighting the bloody battle that we call peer pressure. This will be done, if Allah wills, through a professional, practical, and organized system run by students who know the ins and outs of MSAs (yes, including the drama).
At the moment, the project is concentrating on a two-step plan to build the foundation of these MSAs.
What we ask of every individual is simple.