2014 Summit Special Edition News

Middle Eastern Club looks to educate students on array of issues

By Michael Ahearne ’14
THE ROUNDUP

The Middle Eastern club offers students a chance to become educated not only about Islam, but also about Christianity, Judaism and other cultural and religious areas in the Middle East.

“The purpose of the Middle Eastern Club and why we thought it was so important for the Brophy community is to educate our peers on many issues regarding the Middle East that they have been raised with that, in our opinion, isn’t necessarily true,” said president and co-founder of the club John Ghazoul ’14.

The club hosts a variety of events, from just normal meetings where students talk about different topics in Dr. Thomas Donlan’s room, to hosting clothing drives and having guest speakers talk more about Islamic benefits and cultures.

The club hosted guest speaker Ms. Azra Hussain Jan. 17 from a group called the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona to talk about Islamic culture.

The Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona is a civic organization that trains speakers to discuss Islam and Islamic history without proselytizing or promoting Islam, but are practicing Muslims who belong to Islam.

“It was fantastic, she was great,” Dr. Donlan said. “She did a super presentation on cultural history, food history, dance history, history of words relating to medieval Islam and how we see things that are rooted to that history today in culture, but we are not aware of it. She’s great and she has agreed to come back.”

Also the club tries its best to help out the community.

Last year over Thanksgiving, the club held a clothing drive to donate clothes to St. Vincent de Paul. With the help of many of the club members, Ghazoul was able to drop off bags of clothing.

Ghazoul said he decided with co-founder Adam Mosharrafa ’14 to create this club at the end of their sophomore year.

“At the end of sophomore year, I got together with Adam Mosharrafa, who’s co-founder and vice president of the club, and we contacted Mr. Donlan,” Ghazoul said. “We decided we’d be able to start the club after the Club Fair in our junior year. We got everything together end of sophomore year and we started meetings junior year.”

Dr. Donlan said he was enthusiastic to have the opportunity to moderate the club.

“They approached me and immediately I thought it was a great idea because I knew there was a good number of students here at Brophy whose families have ties to the Middle East,” Dr. Donlan said.

Ghazoul said that the club has been fortunate to grow so much since its founding.

“It went from about 20 members every single meeting to about 35-40 every single meeting now,” Ghazoul said. “We have always had a lot of members on the email list, but we have a consistent amount of about 30 people every single meeting now.”

Ghazoul said his background helped motivate him to start this club.

“My Syrian heritage has been very important to me as I have been raised,” Ghazoul said. “My parents tried to raise me very traditionally. I am fluent in Arabic and my parents made sure of that. My background really made me want to help people understand the Middle East better.”

Ghazoul’s favorite part of the club is the involvement he gets from members.

“I really like the fact that members get so involved and everybody asks questions, everybody really wants to know more, they want to learn more, and I think that’s really beneficial to our community in a whole,” Ghazoul said.