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A Safer Space for Muslim Students: SBHS's Mission of Inclusivity

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

By Amal Ali ('21)

South Brunswick High School’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) is now holding Jummah prayer, or Friday prayer in the library.

Jummah is a short prayer, where the most educated man in matters of religion gives a speech pertaining to pressing topics affecting the Muslim community, or educating Muslims about teachings in Islam. The speech is split into two segments. Between the two segments, there is a period for personal prayers, known as du’ah. After, the speaker leads prayer for the group.

MSA’s goal is to provide a welcoming environment for all students to develop personally, spiritually and professionally. Students in the club are encouraged to learn more about Islam and meet other Muslim students. MSA is focusing on making it a mission to implement more Islamic practices into students' daily lives.

Librarian Lisa Manganello agreed to the administration's request for space in the library for these students to observe their religion.

Mrs. Manganello said, “My goal for the library is to be welcoming to everyone, and everyone who comes here has a different need for the space.”

Since Jummah prayer is on Friday around noon, it is not ideal for Muslim high school students to pray due to their involvement with school. However, MSA holds a prayer for around ten minutes each Friday during C lunch so students do not miss Jummah.

Club member Ibrahim Rahman said, “I think that it’s important to us [Muslim students] because it not only give us an opportunity to fulfill our already obligated statute, but it also gives us an opportunity to come together as a group of young Muslims, interact, and learn about our religion”.

South Brunswick’s MSA hopes that they will be granted a prayer room instead of praying openly in the library.

Junior Ali Gharbeyah donated prayer rugs to the MSA , which are used during prayer in and out of club.

Sophomore Ashiyana Ahamad, who is the treasurer of MSA, said, “Sometimes it’s distracting to pray because of other students conversations and I can’t focus. I want to be fully invested when I’m praying. We are grateful that we have the opportunity to pray in school, but we’d appreciate a room where we can perform other prayers, not just Jummah.”

Educating the student body can allow the normalization of prayer in school.

Junior Ali Gharbeyah, in charge of leading Jummah prayer said, “Our next step is to get a classroom to pray Jummah in and getting teachers to know what Jummah is so that they can let the students out of class to pray, fulfilling our obligation”.

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Can you pray at school during that time

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