This article is a sequel to the one I wrote last year on the same topic. Neither I nor the Islamic Society intends to repeat this article every year, because we, like most of you, believe that it is our work that should speak for itself in front of you, rather than our words. But due to limited resources at our disposal, it is possible that some of the things that we do may be overshadowed by amazing things that happen in the University all the time; hence I write to you again.
While the underlying reason for this article is to highlight our achievements for this year, the main reason I have chosen to write it again is because of something I said in the same article last year. I said after mentioning our achievements from last year, that we do not want to stop there and will continue to do more. Certainly, you are the judge of whether we have done more this year than last, I personally am very happy with what we ended up achieving given our modest pool of resources.
Islamic Society took part in the Charity Week campaign, run by Islamic Relief, for the second time, a campaign whereby Islamic Societies (ISOC) in each university compete to raise the most amount of money for the needy, and orphaned children around the world. Last year we won the award of Best Upcoming ISOC of the Northern Region raising approximately £1200. This year we set the realistic target of at least doubling that figure but instead we managed to raise around £4300. We won the Best Unity Displayed award for our collaborative attempt at raising money with the University of York ISOC. On Thursday night, at the Love York Awards, we won the YuFund Fundraising Award. Where is the outreach aspect in it? We did several collaborative events such as Murder Mystery Night with HAZsoc, International Food Night with the Spanish, Italian, Malaysian and Arab Societies, and finally in the small football tournament we organised, the winners were the Christian Union’s team.
At the start of the year Aminah Abdelhamid, who was Faith Rep, organised a faith week, including events with all the faith societies and was an opportunity for everyone to see each society in a Give it a Go format, but with each obviously slightly different. During Black History Awareness Month, a panel event was organised by the BAME network together with ISOC. We tried to ensure that we were achieving our goals and conveying our concerns via a formalised channel that already exists; the YUSU policy process. In the first term’s policy cycle, I submitted a policy for YUSU to take a formal stance against the Prevent Strategy, and we were extremely delighted when we received positive feedback on the policy that lead to its approval. Recently we found out Islamic Society won the STAR Faith Society of the Year award.
On a smaller scale, Muslim students, in their individual capacities, continue to take part in various activities in the University, trying to reach out to the wider community, trying to send a message that we are not a unique and strange breed, but normal people like everyone else, trying to live our lives as responsible citizens. One of the notable individual mentions goes to Maryam Taher, who has been elected as a student trustee for YUSU. I spoke to the CEO of YUSU recently and was extremely pleased to find out how important her contributions to the YUSU thought-process been so far. Then there is Rifah Khalil, newly elected Social Sciences Rep, who has previously been the ISOC sponsorship officer and the Social Sciences Society chair.
I am sure there are more similar great stories like these that I am not aware of, so I will briefly mention one more. Mine. Haha, joke’s on you if you thought I was more modest than that. Jokes aside, it was important for me to nominate myself for the role of YUSU Prez, for a lot of reasons, one of them to encourage minorities to be more proactive and take the leap. I did not win, but I am happy with the feedback I received from the people.
I think it is safe for me to say, that Muslims on campus have definitely done their best to disprove a grievance often thrown that they are exclusive, do not actively take part in student affairs, and are poor at outreach. There is room to improve, but I am happy with the steps taken by the Islamic Society and Muslims.