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MSA Interview

Catherine Duong

Volume 4 Issue 4

May 29, 2024

MSA Interview

Image Provided by Merab Fatima

Within Valley Stream North High School, there are a variety of clubs, both old and new, students can partake in for various reasons. Recently a new club was formed called the MSA (Muslim Student Association), and I was fortunate enough to interview the creators of the MSA, current seniors Masooma Zaidi and Minayle Rahman. Please note that I have received permission from both to record the interview and transcribe it. Direct quotes are not verbatim. 


Introduce yourselves, and tell me something about the both of you. 

“Hi, my name is Masooma Zaidi, I’m from grade 12, and I really love sports.” 

“Hi, my name is Minayle Rahman, I’m in 12th grade, and a fun fact about me is I like cooking.” 

Who or what inspired you to create this club together?  

MASOOMA: “So basically, one thing is everything that is going around in the world... for example, social media and the things that aren’t in social media; they portray Islam in a very negative way, and we really want to raise awareness about people having prejudices towards Muslim people. We thought the best way to do this is to have an inclusive community and create it in the public schools, and this really helps raise awareness with staff and student members and really show the true beauty of Islam and how everyone is inclusive. Besides that, there are a lot of Muslims within the student population, and it helps to get to know them and make sure they are comfortable: a brother-sister type of bond.”  

MINAYLE: “My personal inspiration was my sisters because both of them are in college, and in comparison, the MSA isn’t popular in high schools and I often go with them to their MSA meetings or events that they hold. It was so nice to see a community where all Muslims and non-Muslims are together; it is a safe and welcoming atmosphere, and I want to bring that to North because as Masooma said, there are a lot of Muslims here as well, but they're not seen as much as they are seen in other MSAs. We want to bring that type of atmosphere to North.” 


Who is the club’s advisor? Why did you both pick this staff member to approach? 

MINAYLE: “Our club advisor is [science teacher] Mr. DiSclafani. We chose him because we had a hard time choosing an advisor, and we wanted to choose someone we knew who would help, support, and build a strong foundation for the club for it to continue for many years. I had Mr. DiSclafani for AP Bio last year, and I really enjoyed his class. I felt like he had a good relationship with the students. He would reach out to them to make sure they are comfortable, and he is very engaging in how he would represent himself in class. We could count on him to help us to make this a successful club.” 

MASOOMA: “Our core values for the association are unity, inclusivity, and trust. We saw these characteristics in Mr. DiSclafani, and we thought he be the perfect MSA advisor.” 

What days are you meeting, in what room, and how often will the club meet? 

MINAYLE: “We are going to be meeting on Fridays, hopefully in the library, and at minimum once a month.” 

What will the club be discussing in general, and what is the purpose of creating MSA?  

MASOOMA: “In the club, we are going to hold a social event like the Eid party and challenge or contest nights to enable people to get to know each other better and be more social in the future years. One of the events we plan to host is the Quran Challenge, which is to see how much knowledge you have of the holy book in Islam. Whoever has the most knowledge will receive a prize, and there will be second and third place.” 

MINAYLE: “Our goal is to spread awareness to prevent misconceptions, raise the issue of stereotypes in the community, and for all Muslims at North to feel comfortable. Our club is very inclusive and open to all students: everyone is welcome!” 

How can someone join the MSA/What are the requirements? 

MINAYLE: “To join the MSA, you can contact either of us for the code or find it in Microsoft Teams. You can also join the MSA Instagram account [@vsn_msa] where we will post updates and the code.” 

Overall, I had a lovely time interviewing Masooma & Minayle. For those who are interested, I strongly suggest you join! The MSA is looking forward to seeing new members in their next meeting. 


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