The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

Muslim Student Association Hosts Stand with Palestine Information Session

MSA members raise awareness for the plight of Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire as fighting continues in the Middle East.
Photo from MSA Instagram feed
Students attend MSA presentation

On October 19, the PHS Muslim Student Association (MSA) hosted a meeting to raise awareness for the millions of Palestinian refugees whose lives are at risk as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has once again intensified into full-blown war between Israel and Hamas.  During the meeting, PHS Senior and the president of the MSA, Basith Mohammed and recent PHS graduate Bakr Alomari gave a presentation on the “harsh realities of what is currently happening in Palestine”. This meeting was attended by almost one hundred PHS students. 

Senior Inaaya Siddique, event planner for the MSA, said, “We organized this meeting to educate people on what’s happening in Palestine.”

One of the main elements of the meeting was to convey information about the current conflict and how it is putting the lives of Palestinian refugees, many of them young children, at risk.  Alomari and Mohammed presented the importance of Palestine to Islam, the history of Palestine, and the reasons why people are hearing about this now when it has been happening for over 70 years. They also mentioned that they feel for all lives lost, not only Palestinians.  

 “It might not be in the United States or the town over, but there are people dying,” Mohammed added.  “There are kids dying. There are people who have a bright future ahead of them dying.”

PHS students show their support for “Peace for Palestine” (Sophia Lojko)

Basith Mohammed, President of the MSA, also shared his reasoning for conducting the meeting.  

“Obviously, there’s been a lot of contentious issues going on in the Middle East, and there are innocent lives that are being lost and obviously, us living in the United States, we have to care… because the United States is involved in these issues,” Mohammed said. “Everything that happens in the US affects Palestine—taxes that are paid by adults go to the government and fund their decisions.”

Many said that the meeting was informative, and attending this meeting represented their support for fellow Muslims, as well as respecting the lives of innocent people of all cultures and religions. 

“I really found it important that I learned … about Palestine, and even if I knew some of the [background history to the conflict], I really thought it was important for me to be there, to support my Palestinian brothers and sisters,” Shada Adwebbi, a sophomore at PHS, said. 

“Not even just as an Arab person, or as a Muslim, but I showed up as a human because this isn’t really an issue of politics, or what race you’re a part of, or what religion you believe in, it’s a time where we all need to all come together in support of [Palestinian refugees], because of what they are going through emotionally, physically, mentally, losing families, losing kids, losing friends, it’s a really, really hard time,” said Meriem Ragoub, a freshman at PHS. “Even here in the US, you know, having friends, having family members, [who] have family in Palestine that are experiencing such a big loss, you just want to come and support [them].

MSA Flyer (Photo from MSA Instagram Feed)

The conflict between Palestine and Israel has been active for decades, but many at the meeting were frustrated over the lack of knowledge many Americans have about the region and believe that it is important for the public to become more educated about the conflict. 

“Today’s meeting was really important, not just to me, but to a lot of people because it is an example of things that are being neglected that need to be addressed,” Seilah, a sophomore at PHS, said. Adwebbi agreed, “this is very serious…people are dying and their voices aren’t being heard. So even just learning about it, even just taking time to post one small little post about it, is very important.” 

Students also expressed the belief that the world often ignores the hardships that many in Muslim parts of the world face. 

“I think the main message that I would like to convey to the world is that Muslims are bleeding. At the end of the day, in Palestine, Muslims are being oppressed, they are dying, in Libya, in Morocco, there’s earthquakes, in Kashmir, … we really need your help”, says Alomari. “Muslims, they have a bad rep, and, honestly, it’s not deserving, you know, Islam, it means peace, and we are  a peace-loving religion, so, I just wanted to send out to the world that Muslims are bleeding and we need your support.”

Bakr Alomari presents information on aid organizations (Sophia Lojko)

Students talked about the important role social media is playing in the conflict, but many shared their concerns. 

“Do your research about the topics about Palestine and Israel. Because not everything that you see online is actually the truth,” Fatimah Ahilo, a freshman at PHS said. 

However, students believe that social media can also be beneficial to spreading awareness about what is happening in the Middle East. 

“Post. Definity post about it because you don’t know how much of an impact it can make,” Ahmad said. “Tell people about it and just post about it.” 

“If I had one message for the world to hear, I’d want to tell them that [what’s already happened] can’t be undone,” Saleah Ahmad, a sophomore at PHS said.  However, “this [conflict] can be stopped…this is our one chance to fix this, so we need to bring action right now.”

Mohammed and Alomari noted reasons why someone should care, even if they aren’t Palestinian: “You don’t have to be Arab, you don’t have to be Palestinian, you don’t need to be from the Middle East to care. You have to be a human to care. A human that cares about the lives of the people around them. A human that cares about freedom.” 


Editor’s Notes: 

For students who are upset about conflict and want to help, the PHS Haven has created a “Pway for Peace” support group, and interested students can sign up with their counselors or at the Haven. 

For more information about the Israeli-Palestinian war, the following website provides a detailed background on the origins of the conflict: 

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About the Contributor
Sophia Lojko, Chieftain Reporter
Hi! I’m Sophia and I am currently a freshman at PHS! This is my first year writing for the Chieftain and I love sharing my opinions with the world through my pieces! I also like creative writing, painting, reading, and drawing! <3

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