When students think about activism at the University, they are likely to think about environmentalism, labor issues, and human rights. Religion, however, may soon become the next key factor in campus activism. Last week, Muslim civil rights leader Imam Mahdi Bray spoke to students about the government’s unjust actions against the Muslim community and offered ways in which students could respond. Imam Bray’s ideas were amplified by Muslim community leaders on campus who spoke about their roles relating to activism, as well as encouraged students to use their voices when there are changes to be made in society, whatever those changes may be.

Bray, who serves as Executive Director of the Muslim American Society’s Freedom Foundation, first gave a talk entitled “The Injustice of the Justice System: Muslim’s Civil Rights in America.” While specifically referring to Muslim civil rights, Bray had a larger goal: to encourage student activism. He said that injustices against the Muslim community were not the only thing that should be concerning students and reminded his audience that students have always been the leaders of progress and change.

“I think that given the [economic] situation, economic justice is an important thing that students can engage in,” Bray said. “Students really have to be vigilant about Afghanistan and they should start now.”

For Bray, two of the most prevalent issues facing American society at the moment is the escalation of troops in Afghanistan, which he calls a possible “20th century Vietnam,” and implementing budgeting priorities that give less money to Wall Street and the military and more to universal educational opportunities.

The University’s Muslim Chaplain Marwa Aly, with the help of students, has organized many of the Islamic-oriented events on campus, including Bray’s visit. According to Aly, her motivation comes from a desire similar to Bray’s, to help inform students.

“The social awareness has to come from our own individual selves where we choose to educate ourselves about everyone who may face any type of oppression,” Aly said.
Aly said that coalition building and awareness are good ways to alleviate the problems facing Muslim-Americans today. She does, however, see shortcomings in the way in which many of these organizations go about building this consciousness. Specifically, she noted that Islamic organizations have a tendency to collaborate only with other Islamic organizations.

“[The Red Cross’s] base may be Christianity and we may disagree on the divinity of Jesus, for example, but we can still come together for community activities,” Aly said.
She added that Muslim organizations should broaden their scope to encompass a range of issues.

“They should get involved in Go Green and environmentally aware organizations, because for Muslims, that’s also important.”

Nadeem Modan ’10 agreed that it is necessary to work outside the boundaries of religious organizations. He said that if the discussions are kept within the mosque’s wall, they will not reach the non-Islamic society. The false and true perceptions of the Muslim community are translated into laws and the media and affect public opinion.

“If you want to change everyone else’s possible perception of the community, you work within and without the community,” Modan said. “If you are going to define yourself with the same label as someone else and they do something wrong, it becomes your responsibility to denounce that.”

Modan, a member of the University’s Muslim Student Association and the Interfaith Justice League, and co-founder of the Indo-American Volunteer Network, said that the changes student activists are pushing for must be made in the government, starting on the local level and working upwards.

Bray, Aly, and Modan all agreed that students’ voices are important to the wheels of change in this country. Modan noted that despite the magnitude of the task, college campuses have the potential to inspire major change.

“Everything that an activist does revolves around getting our actions in tune with our ideals,” Modan said, “You shouldn’t let the immeasurability of the task stop you from pursuing the goal.”

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, the person in this picture is not Imam Mahdi Bray

  • MSA

    The person in the picture is Faraz Khan who gave lecture about Environmental Ethics in Islam. Can Argus change that please?

  • Aishah Schwartz, MAS Freedom Publications Consultant

    Photo and biography of Mahdi Bray can be found here:

  • Aboo Abdillaah Umar

    More information on Mahdi Bray can be found here:


  • dr.music

    In an interview last week with the washington post’s sally quinn, daisy khan lamented: “when will muslims be accepted as plain old americans?” teacher please let me answer daisy khan’s question..please please please .. Thank you .. Daisy..the answer to your question is ..never ! Never ! Never !.. Muslims will never be accepted as plain old americans or australians or british or dutch or indian or or any other country’s cool people .. Why ? Because blood always flows where muslims go.. In this day and age too and right from the time islam was cooked up to be choked down people’s throats by hook or by crook.. Mostly crooked. Have you read the koran daisy khan ? You look like an educated lady but are you really ? Logic is the corner stone of education. Education does not mean recitation. Recitation is the literal translation of the word koran. Education means logical thinking for self. What do you daisy khan see in the koran which all of us also have read and are reading and logically dustbining ? Where do you see logic in the koran ? You daisy khan are scared of admitting the koran is nonsense because it sanctions your murder if you question it . You are petrified to leave islam daisy khan . You are scared for your life so you argue for it . Were you born in islam daisy khan or did you fall into it ? Being born into islam is just very bad karma but to be educated and actually read about your miserable and horrible leader and yet stay in islam is an insult to your intelligence. Islam has an agenda of hate. Show me one good verse about any ..absolutely any other faith in your evil islamic texts and we’ll stop right here. Half sentences do not count like peace on earth which is half the sentence of peace on earth when the whole world is muslim. These half sentences are lies. Daisy khan you do know what lies are don’t you ? Daisy khan why don’t you get out of the cult of islam and try some other lifestyle like peaceful hinduism and buddhism or be an atheist ? If you do leave islam daisy khan please rest assured that your paranoid and 1400 years dead leader is not going to come after you with a cleaver and even if he did just about any cop on any street in this beautiful wide islam-free world would just shoot him dead in his tracks and save you . You know why daisy khan your mo boy would have to be shot ? Because your mo boy is a classic case of a mad man . Certified stupid and evil to the core. You can’t make evil this bad up. Your mo-boy was pure evil. And his even eviler invention alahh. A 1400 year old filthy imagination still feeding simple desert people to become mad. . Endangering evry non muslim life in today’s complex societies all over the planet . We can’t have a decent meal or hour long lazy chats without the evil of/from mecca creeping in and spoiling the moment. Daisy khan why don’t you get your rauf boy out of islam too ? Why not ? Would he kill you even for thinking that ? Why ? I’ll tell you .because it’s written in the dirty koran. That’s why !!!
    Tell the world some more lies daisy khan.. Tell the world some more lies..

    ”the refusal of the western elite class to protect their nations from jihadist infiltration is the biggest betrayal in history.”