With the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaching, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association joined a national effort to improve the image of Muslims in America by sponsoring a blood drive on campus Tuesday.
In partnership with The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas, AMSA members sought volunteers outside while medical technicians inside worked quickly to take blood from students hurrying between classes.
“The goal of the drive was to get around 20 people to donate blood, in about three hours,” said blood drive volunteer Michael Seager.
The drive went smoothly as medical technicians helped multiple students as others waited patiently at the back of the blood donation bus. The AMSA, which is not associated with the Muslim Students Association, is an organization with about 10 current members at UT. This was the largest blood drive yet for AMSA — they were able to meet their goal of 20 donors.
The UT group was not the only one collecting blood. Tuesday’s effort was one of 220 Ahmadiyya drives on college campuses and other locations throughout the country.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, an international Muslim organization that AMSA represents, was started in India in 1889 as a way to preach the fundamental ideas of the Ahmadiyya Community as well as remove misconceptions about Islam based on ignorance or willful discrimination, according to the AMSA website.
With these blood drives, the larger Ahmadiyya Community hopes to gather 10,000 bags of blood, said AMSA officer Usama Malik.
“Our goals are really to just promote peace, value the sanctity of life and raise awareness about Islam,” Malik said. “Of course with the 9/11 attacks you had terrorists rallying under Islam, and they tarnished the name of our religion. We want to work to undo that negative image.”
He said that with the 10-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks approaching, AMSA is working actively to fight against the negative stereotypes that resulted from the loss of life in 2001.
“Here, we want to show how Islam is committed to the mutual effort of saving lives in the act of giving blood and commemorate the anniversary of the tragedy on 9/11,” Malik said.
Freshman blood donor Angie Vital said she was impressed both by the efficiency of the drive and its outreach mission.
“If [AMSA] wants to work for a positive image I think they are doing the right thing,” Vital said. “Nothing works better than to reach out in a positive manner like this.”
Association members said they are planning another blood drive at the same location on Sept. 11.
Printed on Wednesday, September 7, 2011 as Muslim association organizes two September blood drives.