Dear St. Edward Community,
I am writing to share clarifying information regarding the recent formation of the St. Edward Muslim Student Association. I feel there is sufficient misinformation being circulated, especially on social media, and this letter should serve to provide clarification.
St. Edward's Muslim Student Association was formed this winter when a small group of students (some of whom are Muslim) expressed an interest in creating a student group that would allow them to discuss their faith with their fellow Edsmen - mostly to dispel stereotypes. The group is moderated by Chris Merriman, the chair of our Theology Department, a Roman Catholic, who also teaches our Ecumenical and Interreligious Issues course, which is a part of the Diocese of Cleveland and U.S. Catholic Bishops approved curriculum that we teach.
Meetings are a chance for students to learn from their classmates about their Muslim faith, to ask questions, and learn, but also to share about their own (many times, Christian) faith. Often students walk away with a deeper understanding and commitment to their own Christian/Catholic faith.
If there is concern about a connection to the wider MSA presence on college campuses, etc. that is not the situation here. Ours is an internal, independent organization run by St. Ed's, staffed by St. Ed's, attended by St. Ed's students, and hosted at St. Ed's. We are not inviting outside groups to come into St. Edward to teach the Quran as some have thought.
The rationale for this club is for students from different backgrounds to learn from each other, the best way to avoid pre-judgment and stereotyping. Our students come to St. Edward from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, etc.; we want all our students to feel safe and welcomed. As Pope Francis said when discussing the topic, "There is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God."
If you have any additional questions, please contact Liam Haggerty '02, Vice President of Mission Effectiveness, at 216-221-3776 x244.