Muslim Student Association, college officials to address concerns over Eid prayer


El Camino College Muslim Student Association members host the Eid prayer at Murdock Stadium on Friday, April 21. According to MSA members, around 5,000 Muslims from the South Bay and Los Angeles area come to celebrate one of their biggest holidays, Eid al-Fitr. (Nindiya Maheswari | The Union) Photo credit: Nindiya A Maheswari Putri

Editor’s note: Russell Serr’s name corrected on May 24.

El Camino College’s handling of the Eid al-Fitr prayer has come under criticism from the Muslim Student Association after a lack of support and understanding of the event.

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) sent a letter to the administration on April 25 detailing their challenging journey in making the event happen caused by several departments on campus.

Several concerns were fleshed out in the letter including college officials giving conflicting information in the planning process, denying their request to use Murdock Stadium in the first place and having to troubleshoot logistical problems themselves during the event.

In response to the MSA’s letter, acting Vice President of Student Services Robin Dreizler, Dean of Health Sciences and Athletics Russell Serr, along with several other representatives of the Associated Students Organization (ASO) and MSA leaders attended a meeting to discuss the issues on April 27.

“Every time we tried to have a conversation all we got was a no, it’s not going to happen,” MSA Public Relations Coordinator Sabrina Rashiq said during the meeting. “It felt like at every step, there was an obstacle that no one is willing to help us.”

However, during the meeting, interim Vice President of Student Services Robin Dreizler said numerous miscommunications and clarifications arose since the events introduction to various departments in the fall of 2022.

“It just sounds like a communications breakdown on a number of levels that collectively made it look like a colossal mistake,” Dreizler said. “We made some mistakes. There were some communication mistakes. There are some logistical things that we could absolutely do better.”

Moreover, Dreizler said a following meeting with all the major players involved with the event will be important to find out what happened.

“We’re here to support our students,” Dreizler said. “I want to take every part of that letter and say okay here’s what we can do and here’s how we can do better.”

Dean of Health Sciences and Athletics Russel Serr said that his department is receptive to activities that are inclusive and it was unfortunate that the event did not turn out as expected.

Serr said they tested the sound system at Murdock Stadium earlier in the week and it worked. However, it did not work on the day of the event and the staff could not fix the problems.

MSA President Uzair Pasta said the reason this year’s Eid prayer happened was that the community decided to step up and MSA previously hosted the Eid al-Adha prayer at Murdock Stadium in 2019.

In the letter, MSA said they put a work order to facilities to bring out canopies for the elders but they did not show up. As a result, elderly community members felt discomfort.

Responding to this issue, Assistant Director of Facilities and Planning Services Dwight Bradley said that he hasn’t had an opportunity to speak with his staff who received the work order because the person was out of the office.

Bradley looked into the request and said the work order was vague causing a miscommunication on when and where they needed to set up the tents.

However, Bradley acknowledged that the individual assigned to the work order was not aware of the request because there was a miscommunication between the worker and the acting supervisor.

“I do want to extend our condolences and apologize to the Muslim Student Association … if there were any issues that came from not having the tents and everything else,” Bradley said. “It wasn’t our intent to make it any more difficult for them than it needed to be.”

Bradley hopes that they can work together to make their future events as smooth as possible.

ASO President Jana Abulaban spoke during the meeting and said that nobody should have to overcome different hurdles in hosting an event at El Camino College.

“It’s specifically discouraging for students when they have to go through such a hectic process in order to put on such an event for the community,” Abulaban said.

The next meeting between MSA and college administrations is scheduled on May 25, MSA President Uzair Pasta said.