Muslim Students Association Hosts Eid Potluck

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Issue 16, Volume 112

By David Lin, James Lee 

Stuyvesant’s student-run clubs are known for hosting a plethora of events, one of them being the Eid Potluck hosted by the Stuyvesant Muslim Students Association (MSA) on May 6 to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. The turnout for the event was higher than MSA members expected, with around 30 to 40 students and 10 faculty advisors joining the feast held in room 233. The potluck was coordinated by board members of the MSA, including MSA President Rahma Abdallah, Secretary Yusha Aziz, Events Coordinator Nafisa Hoque, and Treasurer Sabiha Amin.

While MSA leaders such as Abdallah and Aziz promoted the event to create general interest and coordinated the logistical details, the event was also supported by MSA’s faculty advisor, Angel Colon. Colon focuses on planning diverse events within the MSA and supports the club’s mission to focus on activism, advocacy, and education regarding issues surrounding the Muslim community. For the event, he provided access to the counselor’s fridge, where members of the MSA could store their food, and allowed members to use a microwave, which they brought to school on the day of the potluck.

During the potluck, members of the MSA brought food such as pastries, donuts, and sweets to the event and most wore traditional Muslim clothing. “For Eid, we wanted people to wear their cultural clothing, so Bengalis wore their kameezes, the guys wore their kurtas, [and] Arabic people wore their dresses,” Hoque said.

Most students agreed that the event was mainly centered around conversation, celebration, and food through various activities. “We had a lot of things planned, like we had people bring in board games if they were unable to bring food. I saw some people playing cards and chess. But, [the] common ground [was] food and there were a lot of discussions about food,” Abdallah said.

Some students thought the event was a memorable experience and a significant one for the MSA in terms of its large scale. “We didn’t do anything for Eid before this. We just had a couple meetings and one game night, but not at this level where we brought this much food and told everyone to come. It’s definitely not been like this before,” Aziz said.

With the turnout, Hoque feels that this year represents a comeback for the MSA. “This year was our starter year jumping back from COVID [and] we’re starting anew again because freshman year was very abrupt. But otherwise, past MSA events have been very successful. You see pictures, [and] you see alums telling us about how we’re supposed to run things,” Hoque said.

Amin noted the challenges to organizing events that showcase their identity as a club, particularly in the way their club is perceived within the Stuyvesant community. “Especially because of the pandemic, [...] we haven’t been able to showcase our identity as much, because we don’t want to be labeled as just a religious club,” Amin said.

The Eid Potluck was an example of how the MSA aspires to diversify its meetings and create a space for people of different cultural backgrounds. “We were trying to showcase our cultures [during the potluck]. That’s why we added that you can wear traditional clothing. Some people changed into it, some people wore it the whole day; it was a fun bonding experience.” Abdallah said.

Colon agrees with this sentiment and also supports cultural acceptance. “Everyone’s welcome. You don’t have to identify as a Muslim to partake in [the MSA’s] activities or their functions. Again, part of these types of initiatives is how we [as people] can be better neighbors,” he said.

Junior Sayeb Khan is optimistic about MSA’s improvements in its efforts to branch out. “The club in general has gone, since freshman year, into a more diverse direction. Some meetings I remember; like right before Ramadan began, the meeting was dedicated to understanding our responsibilities, the purpose of Ramadan, and fasting,” he said. “And then we have other meetings where we play soccer, go outside, play chess, board games, checkers, et cetera.”

Furthermore, the potluck is one of many events that left members of the MSA confident in the club’s growth and in continuing to establish its place within the Stuyvesant community by collaborating with more clubs. “My goal personally as a club leader is to gain the appeal of others. Right now we partnered with Stuyvesant soccer [and] Stuyvesant Red Cross. We plan to work with Stuyvesant Key Club, and other clubs such as possibly Stuyvesant NBA,” Aziz said. “One key point is that MSA is going to grow bigger this year than it's ever been, [and this growth will continue into] next year [...].”