A & E
Muslim student club vandalized
In the wake of 9/11 The Muslim Student Association organized at Shoreline Community College, offering a safe-haven for Muslim students among their fellows as well as a platform to educate and celebrate Muslim culture.
The organization meets on Thursdays at 1 PM in room 1515 to discuss topics such as: Ramadan awareness day, food drives and news related to Muslims. To promote their club, the MSA hung posters and displayed flyers, an open invitation to all students to participate, including the place and times of meetings.
These posters adorned positions in the PUB, FOSS and Bookstore with approval form the Student Affairs Office.
Between Sept. 24 and Oct. 7, MSA posters were torn from their positions and flyers were gathered and thrown in nearby trashcans. MSA advertisements appear as the target as only those materials were removed.
A Muslim Students Association poster stands undisturbed in the PUB
Photo by Chris Nelson
Making inquiries to the administration and campus security, MSA representatives found no one from the college staff or faculty had disturbed their materials. Club members concluded a student must have been involved.
Club members contacted Safety and Security Manager, Carwin Spearman, who assured he would look into the matter. Spearman reportedly attended a MSA meeting apologized to the club members for having to endure this discrimination based on ethnicity, national origin or religion.
Upon contacting the Safety and Security office no formal incident report was available for review. Spearman was out of the office thus unavailable for comment. Security officers on duty were unable to comment due to the fact the incident was currently under investigation. Reviewing the SSO link from the Shoreline Community College Home Page, no category exists to reflect incidents of this nature.
One of our colleges' core values is 'Diversity' www.shore.ctc.edu says, "Shoreline values the dignity and worth of all persons and the respectful treatment of the diverse individuals who learn and work at the college."
MSA members feel the actions of the yet unidentified person were an affront to this value. This individual specified the MSA materials to the exclusion of others, denying the clubs rightful access to the student body.
MSA President, Mohammed Sarhan, said, "This is no small thing. This is indicative of the low tolerance on campus and proof racism exists on campus."
Other incidents corroborate Sarhan's assertion; Esther Pineiro-Hall, Office Assistant in the Multicultural/Diversity Center described the trashing of the Seattle Gay News from the distribution table outside the MCDEC on several occasions. "Since then, we've hung 'Hate-Free Zone' signs around the distribution table and haven't had a problem."
Shaun Scott, Vice President of the Black Student Union asserts, on a number of occasions the BSU's promotional materials were moved without their knowledge or consent.
These groups share a concern that these seemingly isolated occurrences reflect and undercurrent of intolerance.
During the MSA meeting on Oct. 10, Dr. Ernest Johnson, advisor to both the MSA and BSU, said this is not the first instance the MSA has suffered. "Around Palestinian Awareness Day last year, I received several voice messages that could be labeled harassing" Another club member reports receiving emails with poorly veiled anti-Islamic tomes near the same time as Johnson.
Sarhan said the poster-trashing technique was employed last year. "Our posters were torn down last year, and others had some ugly comments written on them" Sarhan said.
In light of these events, the MSA is offering 'Islam-101'on Oct. 24. This one-time event offers information dispelling stereotypes and misinformation regarding Islam and Muslims.
© 2002 Shoreline Community College