CCSU Student Witnesses a Person Mocking Islam on Campus


Haneen Alkabasi

The Tranquility Space is located on the third floor of the Student Center building.

Haneen Alkabasi, News Editor

An incident that occurred on the Central Connecticut State University campus Tuesday has many students in the Muslim community feeling unsafe.

CCSU student and Muslim Student Association (MSA) member Farah Syeda told The Recorder she came to campus at 12:15 p.m. to pray before her class.

Syeda said a man showed up for less than a minute appearing to be on FaceTime or recording himself. She said he was screaming and was seen doing some kind of activity.

“He was mocking Islam,” Syeda said. “I thought he needed some serious help.”

Syeda said he laughed while going down on his knees, and his friends encouraged his actions when he returned back to them. She said this is not how you practice Islam.

“I was so traumatized and it was so disturbing,” Syeda said.

She saw him go into one of the closed rooms that no one enters and tried to remain positive.

Syeda said she was left questioning why he did what he did and the purpose behind his actions. She said this was her first personal incident of Islamophobia.

A police report has been filed with the CCSU Police Department and the Office of Equity and Inclusion has been notified. The Recorder has reached out to the police department to obtain the report, who said it would take a while to complete.

As the world’s second-largest religion, Islam is projected to be the fastest-growing major religion globally by 2050, according to Pew Research Center.

The MSA released a statement saying they believe a CCSU student was behind the incident.

“On behalf of all the Muslim students on campus, we deserve to feel safe and welcomed in our designated space to pray, and we demand that this student be held accountable,” the statement reads.

Syeda said the university should find out who did this and hold them accountable for their actions.

“He shouldn’t get expelled but definitely in trouble,” Syeda said. “He should apologize for what he did and accept that it was wrong.”

In a statement released this morning, President Zulma Toro said the university is “committed to embracing and strengthening diversity and ensuring an equitable learning environment where every individual is valued.”

Syeda said she can’t believe the person had the audacity to do this in front of other Muslims.

Door leading into a space for spiritual reflection.
This location was designated by the Student Union Board of Governors after the previous space was placed under construction. (Haneen Alkabasi)

“Since this happened in front of us, imagine what they do when we’re not there,” Syeda said.

CCSU student and MSA member Jade Shaheed said she was really shocked when she heard about the incident.

“I felt kind of defeated and disappointed with the school,” Shaheed said.

Shaheed said this should not have happened in the first place because Central is very diverse.

“There’s certainly students who don’t support certain minority groups, but I get surprised when this happens,” Shaheed said.

She said CCSU needs to show that they care about Muslim students and that “expulsion is the only solution.”

Shaheed said another bad experience she had at Central was when people laughed at her after a prayer last semester. She said they made fun of how Muslims conduct prayer on the floor.

Shaheed said a more secluded prayer area would be better because it’s really easy for people to not use it for its intended purpose.

In a statement released to the Central community Friday, Toro said the university is committed to fostering an inclusive and safe environment on campus.

“Bigotry, incivility, and any form of harassment will not be tolerated,” Toro said.

The university said they plan to investigate any complaints and take appropriate action.

Editor’s Note: The writer of this story is on the e-board of the Muslim Student Association.