Best of the Week 2021-2022: Holy Cross Values


ST. ED'S MUSLIM STUDENT ASSOCIATION TAKES RETREAT AND REFLECTS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF RELIGIOUS ACCEPTANCE

Last Friday, St. Ed's Muslim Student Association spent a full day on retreat in perfect time to observe the Islamic month of Ramadan, which marks the revelation of the Quran. Students started with a tour of the mosque at the Islamic Center of Cleveland followed by a trip to Al Masjid Alomary on Rocky River Drive in Cleveland for Jumah, the Friday weekly prayers. With the close proximity to St. Ed's, these places of worship are where many of St. Ed's Muslim students attend for weekly prayer. "This retreat was a great way to discuss and reflect with students and see them in their own religious communities. We can forget that our Muslim students come to St. Ed's and attend Catholic Masses, Theology classes, retreats, and service projects. Throughout the retreat, we discussed how practicing one's faith takes work and sacrifice. We talked about how we can practice Taqwaa, or God consciousness, and what it means for us to remember that God is always watching us so that everything we do can be in honor of and in service to God," says Theology Department Chair and MSA Moderator Chris Merriman. "Our faith, no matter what the religion may be, is something that brings us together, not something that divides us. In today's world, it's very rare that you see people of different faiths with mutual respect for each other having discussions like we do at St. Ed's. People tend to focus on the differences between the religions and use that as justification for division and conflict, but we put all of those prejudices aside and had a meaningful retreat experience," says Karim Elsharkawy '22, MSA President. "I enjoyed talking openly about my Islamic faith which is very sacred to me. Talking about it with my peers who are genuinely interested in learning more about it was exciting. St. Ed's has always been very open and receptive to our MSA group and being able to continue using MSA as a way to advocate for Islam among all of the misconceptions is important." "While we were at the Mosque on Rocky River Drive, we had the chance to reconnect with St. Ed's alums who are now in college and they reiterated their appreciation for the acceptance and support they received while at St. Ed's and were grateful that St. Ed's continues to support its Muslim students while educating non-Muslim students about their classmates' faith," says Mr. Merriman. "St. Ed's MSA started because of the leadership and initiative of our Muslim students and it continues to this day for that reason. It is truly an expression of our Holy Cross pillars of Servant Leadership and Relationships."