SHAFAQNA – More than a hundred people pray at the Islamic Community of Bryan-College Station Islamic Center and Masjid in College Station a city in Texas each day. But the center’s walls house more than just prayer.
“We’re here as a resource. We have a lot of people who are even not of the Muslim faith who come in,” said TAMU Muslim Student Association President Nimrah Riaz.
When she’s not studying, Riaz spends her time at the center so that it can serve as a community resource.
“We have final study sessions. They just come here and join us. It’s an open community center for anyone to join,” she said. “We’re welcoming, we have food for everyone, we have activities going on.”
The center even has an afterschool program where children can learn and play. And recently, an open house showed the community what is really inside.
“We are a part of the community and we want them to see what we’re doing,” said student Hussein Hussein.
With its doors open, those at the Islamic Center hope their neighbors will get to know the real Muslims on their street instead of making assumptions based on the small number that make headlines around the world.
“I, as an American, love Americans and we study together in school, I grew up here and I’ve been here all my life. So, basically, I know that this is not what Islam is teaching and this one percent is not going to represent us,” said Hussein.
“We just want them to know that we’re just like everyone else. We live here, we’ve grown up here, I was born here, we do the same things they do,” said Riaz.
In addition to other community efforts, each month, the Muslim Student Association distributes clothing and food to those in need in downtown Bryan.