Aziz Shaaban, speaks to members of the Lamar Muslim Student Association during a  meeting in the Reaud Honors building, Oct. 6.

Aziz Shaaban, speaks to members of the Lamar Muslim Student Association during a meeting in the Reaud Honors building, Oct. 6.  UP photo by Noah Dawnlearn

The Lamar Muslim Student Association is dedicated to supporting Muslim students by giving them a place where they can meet and talk freely, sophomore Omar Hamza said.

“Initially, it was me getting other Muslims on campus together to form a support group for us,” he said.

The group was active at Lamar until last year, Hamza said, adding that he gathered his friends to revive the group after its former president decided to no longer run the organization.

“The Muslims on campus, pretty much had no one to talk to and no group to relate to,” Hamza said. “My reasoning was, if we have these Christian organizations, and others for everything else, why not get this going for us because we can’t really relate to anyone but ourselves.”

Hamza said that the group is trying to bring to attention what Muslims are instead of what they are portrayed as in the media.

“This group is a way to show other people that we are college kids just like everyone else,” he said. “We are here to help, inform, educate and answer any questions people have about us. We want to be informative and educational towards Islam and Muslims, to give people the idea what a Muslim is, what we stand for, what is correct in the media and what is not.

  “I know there is quite a bit of controversy around it, so we are here to clear that up. We have the sheik at the mosque, which is the equivalent of a priest, we always go to him for reference — we even bring him to our events that we hold to answer questions. Our group even has an interfaith, so we get a lot of people from different religions and they gather at the mosque.”

  The organization also volunteers in the community.

“We helped a lot with Harvey,” Hamza said. “We gave out supplies to people at the mosque in town, and a lot of us went to homes and personally helped out people in their homes, even getting them out.”

Hamza said that anyone is welcome to join and he wants everyone to know that the MSA is an inclusive group.

To join MSA, visit the group’s orgsync page or email ohamza1997 @gmail.com.

Story by Cade Smith, UP staff writer

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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