By Nargis Rahman
The Muslim American Society of Detroit brings opportunities together to learn about Islam and work towards social justice in a nonjudgmental atmosphere, said Assistant Director of MAS Youth Detroit, Khadigah Alasry.
According to www.masnet.org, MAS is a non-profit Islamic organization started in the early 1960s, designed to bring reform t o individuals, families and societies.
MAS does not require Muslims to be from a certain sector or ideology of Islam. “In some organizations you have to be a certain way, talk a certain way,” Alasry said.
Alasry became involved with MAS three years ago when she started attending monthly events sponsored by the group. After being recruited into the fundraising committee, she was gradually nominated as assistant director for Detroit’s youth branch.
Part of her job involves organizing activities and events in Michigan to help spread the message of Islam and help the youth better implement faith in their everyday lives. Alasry operates on a national level with other MAS chapters for ideas and encouragement.
MAS strives to do more grass roots work with younger people to give them a better and balanced understanding of Islam, Alasry said.
“Religion isn’t something you do in Jummah or on Eid. It’s something you do and implement in daily life,” she said.
Alasry said MAS sets up different avenues for people to learn about Islam. One program is called Connects – it brings people from different communities together to help better understand and practice Islam. MAS Youth – for ages 15-30, caters towards the needs and capabilities of a younger audience.
Last year MAS sponsored the “Voice for Change” campaign, bringing together non-Muslims and Muslims alike to spread a positive message through poetry, rap and music entertainment.
MAS sponsored a five-major city tour of Outlandish, a Danish multi-faith based music group, to help spread inspirational messages to the youth.
MAS Youth participates in monthly community service activities, including cleaning up homes with Motor City Blight Busters and volunteering during the Day of Dignity in Detroit.
Alasry said MAS is important because it is a goal-oriented organization that strives to do high quality professional work. The spiritual goal of MAS is to move young people to strive for God-consciousness and social justice and convey Islam with utmost clarity.
“MAS wipes away the culture and things people tend to get caught-up in, and gives you a very simple version of Islam,” Alasry said. “It does a good job of communicating and telling people what Islam is really about.”
Alasry said Muslims need to use religion to be a part of the larger group of Americans, to help erase negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims.
“We need more Muslims out there in the media who are more convincing and appealing – presenting Islam in an impartial and positive way,” she said.