MSO promotes interfaith interaction

A.P. Green Chapel provides common ground for students of all faiths.

Five times a day, Mahir Khan distances himself from the nonstop chatter and continuous movement of life on campus. In various quiet, clean locations, Khan brings himself closer to his religion.

Khan, the Muslim Student Organization spokesman, is one of the many Muslim students on campus who does not have a designated place to pray. But, Khan and other members of MSO do not want a location specifically for Islamic worship.

"Even though we have to pray five times a day -- that is a huge part of our religion, our Deen -- having a prayer space specifically for Muslims on campus? We don't really want that,” Khan said. "What we really want to encourage for our MSO is a lot of interfaith interaction. The best-case scenario for us would be just a space where all people, of all faiths, to come pray, to congregate, under one banner just as people who want to practice their religion."

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs said the A. P. Green Chapel is a place of meditation open to all members of the school as a place of worship, regardless of their religious beliefs.

Like Scroggs, Khan said he feels the chapel helps unite students of all religions.

"The chapel under (the) student union is where most Muslims go to pray," Khan said. "The chapel is really a beacon of interfaith unity that shows, on this campus, people are open to allowing interfaith interaction."

Khan said he believes that at a time when controversy is surrounding the building of a mosque in N.Y., people need to come together and accept others for who they are, no matter their faith.

"We feel very welcome on this campus," Khan said. "We've never had a real problem. We feel right at home in our MSO. That is how it should be for every Muslim in America, because when you are an American, you're an American. If you happen to be Muslim, if you happen to be Christian, if you happen to be Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, whatever, you are still an American, and you should be treated as an American."

Coordinator of Student Organizations Nick Evans said joining clubs, such as MSO, provides students with more valuable experiences and support throughout their college careers.

"Having over 600 clubs provides more opportunities for students to get involved, make friends, find support mechanisms and become better students," Evans said. "We encourage everyone to get involved."

Although Khan said he agrees with Evans that MU has an accepting and coexisting campus, he also believes America needs to come together rather than split over issues like building a mosque in N.Y.

"Everything that is going down with the controversy with the mosque, we feel that it is all just superficial," Khan said. "The real issue, again, is that why a certain group is being discriminated because of their religion and being generalized in a negative light because of something that someone has done. It is so important in our society to be open-minded, to understand that differences are not just accepted, but good. They lead to better things."

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