Muslim Student Association at BGSU

Muslim students at BGSU dedicate themselves to social justice

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Many people serve others because of the dictates of their religions. For Adam Smidi, it was his desire to serve others that led him to rededicate himself to Islam. As he read the Koran and about the prophet Mohammad, he found a calling. At the recent Muslim Student Association Convention at Bowling Green State University, Smidi said:  “I wanted to learn more about my religion that I was so far away from. I found that there was this element of social justice, like a pillar, or a backbone of the religion … treating yourself with dignity and treating others with the dignity that everyone deserves.” The Muslim Student Association has dedicated this year to reaching out to the community through service, Toghrul Alakbarov, president of the group, said. They will collaborate with others including plans to participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service next year. The convention is attended both by members of the association and community members invited for a free dinner, conversation, and entertaining lessons about Islam as well as presentations on weighty matters. Smidi, now a doctoral student in organizational communication at BGSU, was born in West Virginia, making him a self-described “Muslim hillbilly” and grew up in Toledo. His family, though, frequently traveled back to Lebanon to visit. He was “growing up with two cultures, two identities, and loving them both, my American and Muslim identities.” He now runs his family’s car dealership. “What’s most important to me is community service,” he said. He’s pursuing his doctorate to learn how to bring organizations together to help others. The yearning for justice is universal, a tenet of all faiths, he said. “Inherently we feel the need to be just.” He was drawn to it at first because of injustices to those who shared his faith, but that “opened my eyes to all the other injustice happening today.” While a handful control half the world’s wealth, many others go hungry. “We don’t have to look globally, we can check out in our own backyard,” Smidi said. One in five residents of Northwest Ohio have problems putting food on the table, and 35 percent of those are children under 18, he said. One of the first commandments by the Prophet Mohammed was to feed the…