I agree that it is important for Muslims to realise that, if things are going to change, they need to work for those causes along with other people. Yes, the authorities should pay attention to the needs of minorities, in every community, as it is always daunting for them to voice out their concerns. It does not release the minorities from their duty of working with the authorities where there is room for collaboration. The purpose of this article is to highlight the engagement of the Muslims with the wider community of the university. I am personally very happy with the performance of the Muslim community this year in ensuring that we are active participants in the community norms.
The Islamic Society ensured that they do not only cater to the needs and demands of the Muslim students but also worked with other faith societies for an inter-faith event, international societies for the Charity Week campaign, raising around £1000 in 3 weeks. We worked with some academics and YUSU officers in raising awareness about the Counter-Terrorism strategy Prevent. Doing all these things meant we were not only organising religious events but also charity and political events.
Moreover, since we previously lacked the medium to answer any criticisms of Islam, and wanted to raise our voice in response to rising anti-Islamic rhetoric, we worked with Nouse, whom we are extremely grateful to, to talk about important issues concerning Muslims. Likewise, YUSU has been really cooperative with us in several issues for example consulting us when Tommy Robinson was invited and acknowledging the need for a bigger prayer room on the campus, to match the demands of growing number of Muslims.
We have not done too badly on an individual basis as well having achieved following accolades: University of York Islamic Society winning the most political ISOC award in the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) Northern Region’s awards; the ISOC being shortlisted for the committee of the year award; Rasha Ibrahim being elected as the GSA President for two consecutive years; myself being elected as a part-time officer in YUSU; Aminah Amdelrahim the faith-representative in the societies committee for the year 17/18; Sara Arfan with a signatory role in OpenMinds York initiative; Hiba Raza and Maryam Essa with committee positions in International Students’ Association; Muhammad Hussain Ali as a co-chair at the York MUN conference. I am sure there are a lot of other Muslims, whom I do not have knowledge of, involved in other activities and holding influential roles.
If you asked me, are Muslims engaging enough with the wider community in York, I would respond “yes”. And yes we will not stop there, we will continue to try to be active members of the community and contribute in improving the efficiency of the society.This is what the YUSU Welfare Officer Dominic Smithies, whom we had a close contact over the year, said, “I’d definitely like to echo that conclusion – I’ve seen Muslim students get very engaged in a wide variety of activities while at York. Now, more than ever, I think it’s important that they do stay engaged, they do get involved in activities and that we do everything to raise their voices.”