As Muslims, we believe in challenges, in hardships that often compel us to search within, reflect and take a critical look at ourselves and our surroundings. The recent publication of questionable and considerably despicable advertisement of Islam as an unfair and violent religion in the Daily Pennsylvanian, gives us an opportunity to engage in this type of critical self-reflection. It is an opportunity to come together as a community, to share with others about who we are and what we believe as Muslims, and develop deep relationships with other groups and faculty across campus who are committed to respectful dialogue, diversity, tolerance and mutual understanding.
This type of publication has appeared time and time again in the DP. Thus this year, instead of searching for atonement, we are seeking change. This past week, before taking any action, we had a General Body Meeting where students shared their emotions and responses. Likewise, our survey sent over the listserve has given us a good perspective on where our community stands. Members of our community have met with the managing editors and advertisement chairs of the DP, and our president as well as other concerned leaders of student groups will be in a meeting with them today to hopefully begin the process of drafting a policy that will serve to prevent this form of speech from being printed in the future. Furthermore, instead of pursuing reactionary plans, we are working with our Muslim Chaplain, Kameelah Rashad, Chaz Howard, the University Chaplain, Karu Kozuma, Executive Director of the Office of Student Affairs, and many other prominent members of administration to ensure that our administration is aware of the impact these types of incidents have on our community and will be supportive of our efforts to address this and other incidents that are hateful and discriminatory. Finally, our goal is to develop long-term relationships with all the supportive groups on campus, who have come to our aid in times of need. With them, we hope to host a forum to discuss free speech and the experience of marginalized groups.
There is a lot of love, support and empathy for the Muslim community at UPenn. We are not alone during this challenging time and we hope that if you are feeling uneasy or concerned, feel free to reach out to our Chaplain or any board member. We have been working less publicly than in the past, but please rest assured that we of the Muslim Students Association are on your side and working to better the experience of not only Muslims, but all students across campus.