MSA Reacts to Damning TVA Reportage

Concordia’s Muslim Student Association received a surprise visit by a TVA journalist last week, who went to the club’s office in search of books by religious extremists.

The MSA’s library contains texts by controversial figures like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Bilal Philips and Raheem Green.

The visit, performed in a hidden camera style, accused the association of disseminating the texts to 6,000 Muslim students at Concordia. According to the university, there is no way to actually confirm the number of Muslim students at Concordia, since students do not inform Concordia of their religious affiliation.

Media outlets would usually call the MSA offices or send them an email—the way The Link did—to make an appointment. But the president of the MSA, Majed Jamous, said the TVA journalist put the students working at the club’s office in “defense mode.”

“They came and on the spot started recording,” Jamous said. Jamous says TVA arrived and recorded without permission from students in the middle of organizing Islamic Awareness Week.

“They didn’t give us a chance to speak, or explain ourselves,” he said.

Jamous says the library contains books on a range of Islamic figures and ideologies and is open to everyone, including students from religion classes.

“Any books we have, it doesn’t mean we’re ‘for’ them, it’s just for academic purposes,” he said.

Concordia told TVA they were looking into the situation. Jamous says he’s meeting with university representatives to explain their side.

“They just wanted to bash us,” he said about the incident.

He’s afraid the report will discourage students from approaching the association, by suggesting the MSA supports controversial ideologies, and is somehow connected to the fundamentalist movement that may have led to six young people from the Montreal area heading to the Middle East.

“We know that it’s not the right way to practice our religion,” Jamous said.