Op-Ed: MSA thank you letter

Thursday, April 7, 2016 - 7:09pm

In light of the racist chalkings on the Diag last week and violent rhetoric across the nation at large, Muslim, Middle Eastern and North African students have been confronted with a seemingly hostile climate on campus. When we witnessed these public attacks in the name of free speech that targeted both our faith and our place at this University of Michigan, the fear, apprehension and isolation of the current political cycle suddenly seemed justified.

But we also witnessed another movement shortly thereafter: an outpouring of support and love from individuals and organizations alike on campus. The examples of genuine solidarity are endless: a resolution passed by Central Student Government, proactive chalk on the Diag Tuesday afternoon spreading a message of solidarity, a collective letter of support signed by more than 50 student organizations and commitments from outside groups like the Open School in Ann Arbor and the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee in Dearborn, to standing with Muslim students. The expressions of love and unity have not gone unnoticed.

Thank you for your support. The Muslim Students’ Association is grateful to anyone and everyone taking a stand against the vitriol and hate exposed on campus.

There is a lot of work yet to be done. The reappearance of bigoted messages just yesterday — and the administration’s hesitation to remove them — is indicative of that. We seek to root out actions, both internal and external, that center around excluding groups on campus and turning them against one other. We will not stand for injustice perpetrated toward any identity. We hold the Muslim community to the highest standard of protecting other groups as well.

We look forward, though, to building on the constructive responses, to a joining of hands between Muslims and non-Muslims, and student groups and community members, to mold this campus into a more inclusive one. Our tradition is one of healing and cooperation, and the MSA is devoted to fostering the seeds that have been sown in the last few weeks. May God ease and facilitate this effort and spread its rewards.

The Muslim Students’ Association can be reached at msa-eboard@umich.edu