Standing at the MSA National booth at RIS, an old friend and former MSA National officer Sr. Fadwa softly touched my elbow and introduced me to a brother from CAIR-Can.
As I spoke to the brother about organizational messages and his perspective on how to best articulate our message to the larger community, I noticed another volunteer intently listening to our conversation.
As I introduced myself to Br. Ghaleb from the Concordia MSA, he began to tell me his MSA story. We all have them; stories about how we came to be at the school we're at, how we love or don't love our MSA, and stories about our experiences that make us who we are today. Like Congressman Ellison says, we as Muslims need to tell our story. This is one of my favorite parts of my job - understanding other people's stories and learning what I can do to make their campus experience even better.
Br. Ghaleb left his family overseas and first came to Minnesota. When he landed at the airport, MSA members picked him up, helped him get settled, and became his home away from home as for the first time he celebrated Ramadan and Eid away from his family. My eyes nearly teared up as he described this story and told me how his mother received a translation of the Qur’an in 1975 from MSA National, when the organization established one of if not the first Muslim printing presses in America. It is that passion and love for MSA that he carries with him today at Concordia.
As I left RIS, I said a small prayer for Br. Ghaleb and his family; his story was a bigger gift than he may ever know.