North Campus Students Seek to Start Islamic Club
By Michael Finch
After North Campus student Ryan Laing, 28, found himself with no place on campus to conduct his daily prayers, he decided to start a club centered on the Islamic faith.
But Laing stumbled across one problem: Finding enough members to make the group an official campus organization. All organizations must have at least six registered MDC students and a club adviser to be eligible as a club, per student life regulations.
By early September, Laing had retained only three members. But then more than 20 people attended a get-together in mid-September, making Laing optimistic the organization might finally get going.
As of publication of this article, the club had not yet registered with student life but sociology professor Dr. David Demko had agreed to serve as the club’s advisor.
“I saw in him someone who espouses American values, and someone who believes that everyone has the right to their religion,” said Laing, a physician assistant/political science major.
After contacting Demko about serving as the adviser for the club, Laing says that he seemed excited and “there was no apprehension whatsoever.”
Laing, a practitioner of Islam since 2006, credits his discovery of the Islamic faith to his service in the United States army.
As a member of the 2nd Armored Calvary Regiment, he was stationed in Baghdad from 2003-2004.
“I saw Islam for the first time in Baghdad, everything they did had an application,” Laing said.
Laing hopes to attract not only Muslims but also non-Muslims to the organization.
“We don’t want people to believe that they have to accept Islam to be apart of the club,” Laing said. “We want to draw in Muslims and even more non-Muslims.”
Reiza Ahmad, 28, one of the group’s charter members is excited about the possibilities.
“We’re working to get new members, and to inform students on what Islam is really about,” Ahmad said.
“I hope they [students] will be intrigued by it and hold an open mind.”
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