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Tribal Tribune

The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

A journey in faith and leadership

Students unite at Middle East and Muslim club
Olivia Martin
While founding the Middle East and Muslim Club, Junior Marym Abouelella wanted to create a space for students from similar backgrounds to connect and grow. “One thing we had [talked about] was a Culture Day… I’ve already spoken to [admin Kristy] Williams that they’re going to implement here [at Wando] to represent everyone’s cultures at once,” Abouelella said

An accomplishment in her faith, a milestone in her journey for inclusivity, a celebration of her culture. Junior Marym Abouelella devotes herself to connecting with students by starting and leading the Middle East and Muslim Club.

Having spent her last couple of years at Wando, Abouelella felt there was a lack of representation of her culture compared to other organizations and decided to take action.

“I wanted to form a club to reach out to a small but still major group at Wando. You have the Christian athletes club and then you have African Americans [club], I felt like there’s not really a place for Middle Eastern and Muslim kids,” Abouelella said. “I thought it’d be a nice space for those people [to] talk and get together and plan out stuff for them.”

Given her own experience in submerging herself into the knowledge of other religions, Abouelella was inspired to start a club where she could offer the same opportunity to other students.

“It’s interesting to get yourself more involved with Wando and as well as learn more about religions because there are a lot of world religions,” Abouelella said. “Even I have gone to synagogue churches before to experience what other religions are like and that’s very important to Islam, like knowledge and outreach and learning.”

As one of her main goals is to promote inclusivity, Aboulella encourages students of all ethnicities and religions to join the club.

“We do have some non-Muslims in the club so I tried to give an overview of how the religion incorporates this [Ramadan], and what we do to celebrate it,” Abouelella said.

Junior member Melanie Honig is an advocate for the Middle Eastern and Muslim Club although she does not share the same faith as Abouelella. She joined the club to learn more about the lives of those around her and educate herself further on their culture.

“It’s a really nice club and it’s a really great opportunity for people to probably learn about a culture and a religion that they probably don’t know much about. I definitely think that it’s under-represented in Wando and I think it’d be great if more people knew about it,” Honig said.

Senior member Mariam Moustafa finds that attending these meetings provide her with a fun and bonding experience with friends who all share the same interest.

“Everyone’s kind of similar and so we have similar things to talk about. We can all kind of relate in a way that other people can’t see us…[I like} seeing my friends in the club, because it’s just fun spending time with them too,” Moustafa said.

Within the meetings held every first Friday of the month, the members spend their time discussing a variety of different aspects of their culture.

“We talked about social [and] cultural topics…, we’ll talk about the Israel and Palestine conflict to try to incorporate that political aspect. And then [we] talk about upcoming holidays if there is one as well as fundraiser events that we can incorporate,” Abouelella said.

The spring season is an important time for those who celebrate Muslim holidays. As Ramadan and Eid Mubarak approach, Abouelella commemorates with her community in and outside of the club.

“Waking up in the morning, having a nice breakfast and enjoying each other’s company, and then praying together,” Abouelella said. “At night, typically, we make a nice dinner, eat together, I go over to my neighbor’s house…eat dinner and pray with them and we go to the masjid.”

During her time spent in the club, Honig developed a leadership role alongside Abouelella to help maintain productivitywithin the meetings.

“Sometimes conversations can kind of get really sidetracked and you can just get on a whole other topic and it’s kind of hard to stay on course when you’re just kind of hanging out with people that you know. I sort of tried to steer the conversation back to what she’s [Abouelella] talking about and make sure that she’s being heard,” Honig said.

Although some discussions of the heavy reality of those living in the Middle East, Honig and Abouelella ensure to keep a neutral position to reach informational conclusions.

“We try to keep it from a very subjective, non-biased point of view… we try to talk about that and show both sides of an argument and make decisions for ourselves,” Honig said.

In hopes for her legacy to continue on, Abouelella wishes that the club will expand and carry on beyond her time at Wando.

“I would say one to keep the club going after I graduate, to hopefully have someone to pass it down to grow the club as much as possible throughout the Wando community,” Abouelella said.

Since making the decision to join the Middle Eastern and Muslim Club, Honig has not only benefited from her knowledge, but she has expanded her experiences by voluntarily learning about other world cultures and hopes to inspire others to do the same.

“I think that learning about something that you’re not familiar with, especially if someone can tell you from a personal experience point of view, I think that’s just a really valuable experience to have and I think it’s something that a lot of people should look into,” Honig said.

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