Muslim Students Organization

In homage of 9/11 victims, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Organization (AMSO) held Muslims for Life, a blood drive, outside of the East Mall on Speedway on Tuesday afternoon.

AMSO hosted the blood drive as part of a week-long initiative to collect blood and clear up misconceptions about Muslims brought on by Islamic terrorists. 

AMSO has been hosting the Muslims for Life Blood Drive for three years as part of a nationwide effort of donating blood to people in need of a transfusion.

Usama Malik, government senior and president of AMSO, said he felt the blood drive would honor the lives of victims, and also teach students the true teachings of Islamic culture. 

“On Sept. 11, terrorists carrying the banner of Islam attacked the United States and took the lives of 3,000 innocent people,” Malik said. “Violence is not what Islamic culture is about — we believe in saving lives.” 

Malik said he hopes the blood drive will have raise awareness about terrorism as well as reduce the amount of hostility received by the Muslim community around the world. 

“After 9/11 our people were condemned by the actions of Islamic terrorists, and they are not a good representation of us,” Malik said. “They caused death, pain and terror, but we believe in love. What Muslims for Life hopes to accomplish is redress these horrible actions and save the lives of those that can be saved.” 

AMSO paired up with the Blood Center of Central Texas for the first five days of the drive. The last two days will be facilitated by Scott & White Blood Center.
Gina Sawyer, Scott & White donor service recruiter, said she was excited to be on the UT campus and collect blood donations. 

“Every pint saves three lives,” Sawyer said. “If we can get students to come out and donate blood it will be very helpful in cases of emergency.” 

Sawyer said that, although Scott & White pairs up with many organizations to collect donations, she was very fond of Muslims for Life’s cause. 

Ali Pasha, an economics senior and Muslims for Life volunteer, said he was happy to donate blood. He felt the events that happened on 9/11 united both American and Muslim cultures, but in the end the only course of action is for American Muslims to aid some of the damage. 

“What we have been doing for the past three years is centered on the victims, everything that we do is for them,” Pasha said. “We send our deepest sympathies to the victims’ families and we assure them that what occurred 12 years ago was not the true Islam.” 

History junior Nikolai Sankovich donates blood at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Student Organization’s on-campus blood drive Thurday evening. AMSO held this blood drive in response to the current persecutions of Shiite and Ahamadi Muslims in Pakistan. 

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Organization held an on-campus blood drive Thursday that will continue Friday in response to persecution of Shiite and Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan.

The organization and a truck from the Blood Center of Central Texas will be located on Speedway, near Robert A. Welch Hall from noon to 5 p.m. The organization hopes to raise awareness for Shiite, Ahmadi and other persecuted religious minorities, said Usama Malik, president of the organization.

“With this blood drive, we’re going to save lives and promote the true message of Islam,” Malik said. “For students on campus, the objective is just to get them in the loop about it and to get them aware of what’s going on.”

There has been an increase in violence against minority Muslim groups in Pakistan in recent years, Malik said. 

The Ahmadis are a minority group in a Sunni-majority Pakistan that make up less than 0.5 percent of the population, according to the U.S. State Department. Following a declaration against Ahmadis by the Pakistani government for alleged heresy in 1974, harrassment of Ahmadiyya and Shiite groups has spiked. In May 2010, 86 members of the Ahmadiyya community were killed in Lahore, Pakistan. There have been multiple subsequent incidents of violence directed at the religious group.

Members of the organization explained the purpose of the blood drive to students and handed out pamphlets against terrorism. 

Pre-pharmacy sophomore Munaum Qureshi, an officer for the organization, scheduled appointments for students to donate blood. 

“We’re a relatively small organization, so as long as we can get our message out, I’m happy,” Qureshi said. 

Biology junior Neel Bhan picked up a pamphlet before heading into the truck to donate blood. He said the information he read was the first he heard about the persecutions in Pakistan. 

“I think it’s always important to be involved in stuff around the world,” Bhan said. “Sometimes we kind of enclose ourselves in a little private world of classes and whatnot, but there’s real stuff going on outside our campus bubble.” 

The overall goal for the blood drive is to raise awareness regarding ongoing religious persecution, Malik said.

“This blood drive is just kind of like a snapshot of a broader message to end persecution in general, whether it’s for Muslims, Christians or Jewish people. It has a wide spread message,” Malik said.