Bell students raise funds for SyriaWritten by Ayesha Siddiqui
Moved by the unending stories of death and destruction in Syria, a group of local high school students were inspired to take action. On June 5th, the Bell Islamic Students Association (BISA) organized a well-attended fundraiser to raise money to support Syrian refugees.
“After seeing the horrifying scenes on TV, the mass murder of innocents, the cruelty of the rapes and destruction, as a young activist, it moved me deep down to help the innocents of Syria in any way,” says Nour El-Nader, former Head Girl of the Bell Islamic Students Association (BISA). “That was my motive that kept me going until the dinner reached its success by funding $500.”
BISA meets regularly for the mid-day prayer. It organises the Friday prayer and large scale Iftar and Eid dinners during the school year. The fundraiser for Syria on June 5th played out like a “mini-version” of Bell High School's traditional “Eid Night”. The food was sponsored by Zaki Broast. Keeping in mind a high school student's budget, the main dish was sold for $5, while drinks went for $1.
To remind the attendees that they weren't just there for the food, community activist Mozynah Nofal spoke about what she had seen on a recent visit to refugee camps in Aleppo, Syria. Her speech opened the eyes of students who were unaware of the horrific conditions in the country. It was more powerful because she had witnessed all this first hand. To add on to her points, Imam Zijad Delic delivered a speech to emphasize the importance of organizing community fundraisers and helping the Muslim and Canadian Ummah. For entertainment, hip hop group “House of Halal” performed a rap about the struggles of Syrians and Palestinians, closing with “A letter to Bashar Al-Assad”, performed by the Spoken Word poet, Ali Islam.
“It is upsetting to witness the fact that many young people are not fully engaged in the matters of their Ummah and that is solely because some (not all) of the elders, who we look up to, don't give us the chance and provide us with the comfortable atmosphere where we can show them what we are able to do, what changes we can bring forward, and so on,” says Nour. “[T]he onus is on the Muslim students (at Bell High School) for correctly embodying the characteristics of the best of people, Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him).”
Similar fundraisers have been organized recently by Muslim students at Lisgar, Brookfield, and Longfields-Davidson Heights. Ottawa's Muslim high school students are proving that they care and can organize their own events to raise awareness and funds for causes that matter to them and the Ummah.
Ayesha Siddiqui is a student at Bell High School.
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