Muslim students feel safe at OU

Rachel Williams

Following ISIS terrorist attacks around the world, U.S. leaders are faced with dealing with immigration and foreign policy issues that have become controversial and polarizing.   

At the same time, there has been debate concerning whether or not to accept not only Syrian refugees, but also anyone of the Muslim faith into the country.

Because some of the terrorists are affiliated with the Islamic faith, other followers of the religion have been subject to questioning, judgment and scorn. 

Ahmad Mahmoud, international relations major, and Sumayya Master, marketing major and president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at Oakland University, both explained that despite this, they feel safe on Oakland’s campus.  

Mahmoud was born in Iraq and came to the United States in the beginning of 2009 to escape the war going on in his birth country.  He is now a U.S. citizen and transferred to Oakland in the fall.  

He explained that he feels safe on Oakland’s campus, but unsafe at certain times in areas off campus.  His main concern is the safety of his wife who wears a traditional scarf on her head as part of their faith and is more easily identified as Muslim.  

Mahmoud described a time when his wife was approached by a stranger who asked her opinion on ISIS and the terrorist attacks going on in the world.

“I came to the United States looking for equality, freedom, justice,” Mahmoud said.  “And that’s what makes the United States a great country or maybe the best country in the world.”

“In my opinion, if the United States’ politics goes against justice and equality, they (the U.S.) will go back as a country.”

Master expressed similar sentiments, while commenting on the work of the MSA.  

“We try to have events that may capture the attention of non-Muslims as well so they can learn more about who we are as Muslims and what our religion is all about,” Master explained. “We strive to bring peace and understanding between all members of the OU community…”

The MSA has been around for over 10 years and continues to hold events where students can learn more about the Islamic faith or discuss a relationship with God.  

Muslims like Master and Mahmoud feel that ISIS and other terrorist groups who may ascribe to the Muslim religion are not representative of the entire religion. 


“I’m deeply saddened at the portrayal of Muslims and our religion,” Master said. “I’ve always been taught and have believed that Islam is a religion of peace.”

Despite this false portrayal of his religion, Mahmoud is still glad to be a United States citizen and Oakland University student.

“I am glad to be a part of this society,” Mahmoud said. “This country gave me justice, gave me freedom, gave me education.  My country did not.”

For further information on the MSA, find them on GrizzOrgs or Twitter at twitter.com/OU_MSA.