The origins of the University of Minnesota Muslim Students Association lie with a small group of Muslim students attending the University of Minnesota in the 1950s. At this time, the Muslim community in Minnesota was composed mainly of the students at the university, and no Friday prayers or Eid celebrations existed. A few students, however, decided to form a group called the Islamic Cultural Society, which began hosting weekly Friday prayers. These prayers took place in the apartment of one of the founding members, and attendances were in the range of eight to ten persons. These same students also organized a Ramadan dinner, a tradition that was kept during the years in which Ramadan occurred in the course of the semester.
By the late 1950s, the Friday prayer began to take place in Coffman Memorial Union due to higher attendance, and more Ramadan dinners were organized by this same Islamic Cultural Society. At the same time, this group began to organize Eid prayers for both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha in Coffman Memorial Union. These activities began to grow as more Muslims came to Minnesota both to attend the university and work in the state itself, and by the beginning of the 1960s the idea of an Islamic center or mosque was circulating among the Muslim community of the Twin Cities. A group of Muslims in the wider community then organized the purchase of a small building in Dinkytown that would become the Dinkytown Mosque, which began to host Friday prayers, Eid prayers, and Ramadan dinners. In 1966, the name of the Islamic Cultural Society was changed to the Muslim Students Association, a change brought on by an effort begun by Muslim students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to link together the Muslim community in the Midwest.
With the passing years, the Muslim Students Association at the University of Minnesota has attempted to expand its offerings to both the Muslim and non-Muslim community of the University of Minnesota by providing informational lectures, dawah opportunities, and social events as well as maintaining the Friday prayer for University students. We of the Muslim Students Association hope that you too will be a part of the history of the Muslim Students Association at the University of Minnesota in the years to come.