A followup to a previous Creeping Sharia post, Maryland: Muslims excused from class early for daily prayers in public school library.
On Friday November 2, 2012 at 5:30pm forty-five students from Muslim Student Associations in Northwest, Richard Montgomery, Quince Orchard, Wootton, and Magruder high schools came to the Northwest High School cafeteria to celebrate the Muslim holiday Eid-al-adha.
The event was the first ever Eid event of the Montgomery County Muslim Student Association. The group is a student run organization that brings together Muslims from various high school Muslim Student Associations in the county.
The Montgomery County Muslim Student Association, known by students as the MOCO MSA, was started in 2010 when Richard Montgomery High School student Zaid Bilgrami and Wootton High School student Bilal Naved were volunteering together at that year’s Eid prayer. Bilgrami and Naved were both presidents of their high school Muslim Student Associations, and as they stood by the doors on Eid day handing out bags, the idea came up to somehow bring their two MSAs together.
Apparently a precursor to the Muslim Brotherhood-founded Muslim Student Association found on college campuses throughout the U.S.
“All we wanted to do at first was a barbeque.” Said Bilgrami, “Initially we didn’t even intend to create an organization out of it.” But what started out as a simple idea to bring together two MSAs quickly grew into something much larger as Bilgrami and Naved contacted the heads of MSAs from Churchill, Paint Branch, Quince Orchard, Northwest, and Gaithersburg high schools.
In the fall of that same year the two organized a Montgomery County MSA barbecue with several MSAs in the area. The barbecue was a tremendous success, the only problem was figuring out what the next step for this emerging group would be.
Then came DC MIST 2011, an annual competition for Muslim youth across the DC area. Bilgrami attended the event with his own humble sized high school MSA. Although he did enjoy it, he noticed how larger MSAs seemed to get more out of the experience. A few months later Bilgrami called a meeting with the heads of all the MSAs in the county, and at MIST 2012 each school came to MIST not only as individual high school MSAs, but also as the MOCO MSA.
In 2012, the responsibility of the MOCO MSA was left to the steadily growing Northwest High School MSA. The Northwest MSA started out small eight years ago and just four years ago had to do prayers with only five people in a school storage room. Now, under the presidency of Asim, the Northwest MSA has gotten to around twenty-five members and has regular jummah prayers in a classroom and meetings every week.
Regular jummah prayers in classroom. In a public high school?
“Muslim youth in high schools are immersed in an environment conducive to spiritual deterioration, let alone one conducive to the obstruction of spiritual development.” says Zaid Bilgrami, “An MSA can be a ray of hope, in that it provides a place where it’s ‘normal’ to be a Muslim and practice Islam.” Bilgrami believes that the MOCO MSA is able to provide much needed support and strength for Muslim students in Montgomery County.
The MOCO MSA plans to stay active throughout the year and plan many more events and opportunities for Muslim high schoolers in the county to come together. Currently, the group has set it’s focus on trying to get Eid as a day off in Montgomery County Public Schools.
Creeping along. What’s the next goal? Segregated jummah prayers in classrooms?
In unrelated news, gun maker Beretta is poised to leave Maryland.