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Muslim Students Active in the Kosovo Relief Effort

By Kristen Landino
ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR

The Muslim Students Association is dedicating its time and energy to promoting awareness of the plight of Albanian refugees from Kosovo and collecting supplies that can be used in the relief effort.

Yesterday, the MSA set up a booth in the Student Center from noon to 4 p.m. displaying posters and a documentary film from the Global Relief Foundation in order to collect funds for refugees.

“We felt that something had to be done for the refugees. There has been a lot of coverage in the news on the situation, so after considerable discussion, the MSA decided to act,” said Esa Masood ’02.

“One of the main reasons people are being killed in Kosovo is because they are Muslim. We feel ties to these people who are suffering and feel it is our responsibility to do something,” said Asif Khalak G, vice-president of the MSA.

The MSA is working with Mercy Corps International, a global non-profit volunteer organization, to provide humanitarian aid to refugees in Kosovo through funds collected in the Student Center on Monday.

The MSA has also been collecting funds at its Friday prayer session held at the religious activities center.

“The collection drive has been very successful thus far,” Khalak said.

A clothing drive sponsored by the MSA is also underway, and collection boxes will be placed in dorms for the next two weeks.

“I personally did it after seeing coverage on TV. I felt I had to do something,” said Ahmed Ait-Ghezela ’99, director of the clothing drive.

MSA works with other groups

The MSA has participated in rallies to promote human rights in Kosovo with other international organizations such as Amnesty International.

In early April, the MSA of MIT joined forces with the student associations from a number of colleges for a rally in Copley Square to increase awareness of the Kosovo situation and demand that human rights monitors be put back in the region.

“Our mission has been primarily to raise the consciousness of people with regard to the humanitarian situation. Even before the initiation of NATO hostilities in March, the MSA was collecting donations for the people of Kosovo,” Khalak said.

The MSA also worked with Hillel, the Jewish students organization at MIT, to co-sponsor a vigil for the Albanian refugees on campus in early April.