By Osama Odeh
Canton, Michigan–Alhamdulillah, I had the opportunity to sit down with P-CEP’s new MSA President, Sameed Khan, last week.
Q: What inspired you to become the new MSA President?
A: I saw that there was a need — it isn’t a failing community by any means, it’s a thriving one. But I found that this was the direction my heart was taking me. I had a vision to improve this organization and help it achieve higher goals and aspirations. The MSA seemed stagnant, so I saw a need and answered it.
Q: What motivates you to do the work you do?
A: It feels really great to be depended on, to be a source of reliance for a lot of people. There’s an inner satisfaction I get when I know that I’ve done a good job and that I was critical for a positive outcome.
Q: Where did you get started with community activism?
A: I was introduced to the community when I came to Sunnah Saturday in 8th grade. It was a program for high school youth where we bonded over projects, activities, spiritual insights, introspection and so on.
That was where I found my passion for spoken word, writing and filmmaking. With these new avenues of expression, I could then use my skills to help the community.
Q: What would you say to someone trying to become a young Muslim activist?
A: Seek out a niche where your strengths can really help the community. Everyone has a strength, a passion, something they are extremely driven about. Try and use that expertise, the skills you have and carve out a niche for yourself in the community.
Q: As the upcoming President, what is the first objective you really want to see accomplished?
A: I really want to see an active MSA student membership. I want to get rid of the apathy that pervades the student body.
We’d start with creating spaces for dialogue where the students would participate in discussing the future of the MSA.
Beyond just the executive board, I know that there are people who really care and I want to give them avenues to work with us, speak out and really help power the MSA. Most of all, I really want the executive board to connect more with the students, so that they don’t feel like passive observers, but so that they can also take ownership of the organization’s identity and character.