Photo courtesy of Najia Humayun

The Student Center Ballroom was bustling with activity on September 11, when Muslims for Life hosted their nationwide annual blood drive campaign to honor the victims of 9/11. Founded by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the blood drive has been running for more than five years, and between 2010 and 2014 the organization collected 39,744 pints of blood, which helped save more than 118,000 lives.

This year, the blood drive was co-sponsored by “One Day” and the Red Cross.

The idea was to counter negative portrayals of Islam with positive insight on the religion’s founding principles. They wished to show that Muslims are not called to bring violence, but to hold life sacred. “Our goal is to commemorate the victims of 9/11 with the gift of life, and to dispel misconception about Islam. Islam is a religion which indiscriminately values the sanctity of life,” said Najia Humayun, first-year EIA major. “The Holy Quran actually says, “… whosoever killed a person. it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind. (5:33)” As the coordinator of the blood drive, Humayun helped to facilitate the blood drive and advertise its cause.

In a time when the loyalty of many Muslim Americans is being called into question, Humayan wished to express the idea that practicing Islam and being an American citizen are not incompatible. “As a Muslim and an American, I feel that this campaign expresses a reality which many people have become blind to due to the stereotypes about Muslims promoted by the media,” said Humayun. “It is very possible to be a Muslim and a loyal American citizen. In fact, Islam includes loyalty to one’s nation as a part of faith.”

Humayan expressed her hope that the blood drive would be beneficial in providing ample blood donations and in educating Tech students on the peaceful and loving messages woven into Islam. “I hope that the blood drive that was held here, along with those held around the nation, not only gave people the opportunity to save lives for a noble cause, but also helped them see the true image of Islam as portrayed through the actions of peaceful Muslims.”