Having further thought about, and discussed at great length, The MSA Incident and the subsequent fallout and reaction, I’d like to offer some clarifications and updates to my earlier post. Firstly, I’m really really proud to see the reaction this campus has had. Sahar’s open letter and the responses to the facebook events clearly indicate the good intentions and open-heartedness of Brandeisians, and I’m proud to call myself one. I’m on a bunch of email threads discussing the next step forward, and while I’m not sure what that should be, the responses by campus leaders and administration folks are awesome.
I’d like to clarify the point of my last post. My point on Wednesday was that while there was a (very high) probability of malicious intent bordering on what we’d call “hate,” we should keep ourselves from summary judgment until the facts present themselves clearly. I also wanted to keep the overall conversation calm and rational, since overreaction can lead to precisely the opposite of the kind of message we want to send. But since then, I’ve talked to people about it, both MSA members and non-, and I just want to update the readership on my thought process. Thanks to those conversations, the interview Imam Eid did with the Daily News Tribune, and some of the comments to that post, I realized that I understated how hurtful an incident like this really is. While the physical, material damage may have been minimal and therefore a bit of a non-issue, the nature of the vandalism itself screams out something far worse than “teenagers TPing a house ’cause they’re bored and want to raise a ruckus.”
Though the sum of the rest of the damage can be seen as such, the stealing of a copy of the Qur’an indicates something more than just a prank or some ultimately-harmless mischief. This is a text that represents the Divine Word of God on earth, and is therefore of immense spiritual value. I think Sahar was essentially right in his post – even not presuming outright desecration of the Scripture, simply walking off with something holy and sacred…? PLUS, there were two years of notes and sermons in there. That’s someone’s hard work. That’s two years of dedication to faith and education and introspection lost. Having really thought about it, this was more than just disrespectful, it was – yes, I’ll say it – a hateful thing to do.
Last thing: Come to the vigil on Friday. Stand up for a good cause. It’s a symbol, but it says a lot.
Actual Last Thing: If anyone’s interested, you’re more than welcome to come to Friday prayer as well. It’s in the International Lounge in Usdan, a little bit past 1, every Friday. There’s a sermon followed by the prayer, and everyone is welcome to stay for either or both.