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A place to talk and understand

The Muslim Students Association offers a ritual, intellectual and social experience to approximately 150 Muslim students, faculty, and staff, as well as around 150 non-Muslims over the course of the academic year, according to Robert Coolidge, the Muslim chaplain for the University.

Coolidge said there are many different aspects to the association, "and people choose to participate in whatever they are interested in or get benefit from."

"The Muslim Students Association is not a formalized institution," said Osman Chaudhry '11, but a "really nice place to talk about faith."

For non-Muslims, the organization provides opportunities for the Brown community to get to know more about Islam and meet Muslims "in the flesh," said Coolidge.

People of many faiths attend the association's festivities and rituals including the breaking of fast during the holy month of Ramadan, he said.

"Quite a few people are involved and come to events," Chaudhry said. Events this semester have included screenings of "Jihad for Love" and "Scary Arabs and Sexy Hijabis," which addressed the portrayal of Muslims in the media.

"It's very nice to meet people who come from similar religious backgrounds as you, as America is not the most hospitable for Muslims," Chaudhry added.

For Muslims on campus, the association offers congregational worship in the form of Friday prayer, said Coolidge, as well as the study of the Quran.

The Muslim Students Association has been a "source of support," and  "made me feel welcome," Chaudhry said.

"Through dialogue, I have challenged my own beliefs," he said. "The Muslim Students Association is a really nice place to talk about faith."




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