ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A group of Washington University students came as "Seal Team 6" to a Halloween party last week. The costume came complete with Osama Bin Laden, the American flag and water pistols. A picture of the fraternity brothers was posted to facebook. Now, some members of the University's Muslim community are voicing their outrage with the outfit.
According to the online publication Student Life, Washington University administrators scheduled an emergency meeting for Thursday to discuss a Facebook posted by Mahroh Jahangiri. The Senior at the school posted a seven paragraph post to facebook about the costume.
This is part of Mahroh Jahangiri's facebook post, "I am asking – I am begging my friends and peers at WU do look beyond the group with which they ‘identify’ and RAISE HELL ABOUT THIS. Be loud even if this doesn’t target you. Demand a response on behalf of the handful of WU students this photo ripped to pieces. This is disgusting and cannot be tolerated on this campus. There are very few Muslim students on this campus, and our voice is not loud enough. For those of you who had not heard of this until now, now you have. What are we going to do to change this?"
"Some of the commentary is very hostile and it speaks to the fact this isn`t an isolated incident," said Ayah Abo-Basha, a member of the Muslim Students Association. She believes there is a systemic culture on the campus that includes racism.
She and her friend Mahroh say they have been discriminated against as Muslims. "I have been verbally attacked for being Muslim and had authority figures including my freshman RA condone that," said Jahangiri who is now a senior.
She also expressed concern the photo promotes violence. She said she found it shocking that someone would condone violence on a campus after the incidents of campus violence in recent years.
Washington University officials are investigating the incident and issued a statement saying in part, 'Whatever the intention, the image has offended and hurt members of our community. We must expect better of ourselves and of each other.'
Abo-Basha said she hopes the campus disciplinary system will step in and handle the incident.
The campus incident became public at the same time the national Council on American-Islamic Relations ( CAIR) released a study aimed at improving the understanding of both the religion of Islam and of Muslims living in the U.S.
The Executive Director of CAIR Missouri Faizan Syed praised the Muslim students at Washington University for reaching out to share information about their religion rather than just lashing out via social media.
"We hope students will rise above this. They don`t realize the negative impact this has on the society at large or within the Muslim community," Syed said.
The Muslim Students Association announced early Thursday morning that it will host an open forum in Tisch Commons Thursday evening at 8 p.m.
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