The UC Santa Barbara Muslim Student Association has organized a sweatshirt fundraiser in collaboration with “Islamic inspired” clothing brand Iradah to support humanitarian aid in Palestine.

The MSA hopes to sell 300 sweatshirts with all profits going to H.E.A.L Palestine. Courtesy of MSA

Since the continued siege of the Gaza Strip by the State of Israel following an Oct. 7 attack on Israel by militant group Hamas, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) has organized several protests calling for a ceasefire in the West Bank, and urging UC administration to divest from weapons manufacturing companies benefiting the State of Israel. On May 1, MSA endorsed the ongoing encampment on the lawns between North Hall, also known as Malcolm X Hall, and the UCSB Library.

100% of the profits from the fundraiser, which will run from May 20-29, shall go to the Health, Education, Aid, Leadership (H.E.A.L.) Palestine foundation. H.E.A.L. is a nonprofit organization that funds medical treatment, shelter and educational opportunities for Palestinians, especially children in Gaza. 

Iradah previously participated in fundraisers with student organizations at other universities, including the University of Southern California, UCLA and UC San Diego. 

“[Iradah’s] whole model is basically providing a forum for Islamic facing organizations, specifically student organizations, to fundraise through their sweatshirts and other things like clothing [and] tote bags, for example,” fundraiser organizer and third-year economics major Aliza Zaman said. 

The back of each sweatshirt has the slogan “Free Palestine” written in Arabic and a design featuring an olive branch and a keffiyeh — a traditionally patterned scarf commonly worn in the Middle East. On the front “2024” is written in Arabic numerals over an outline of the borders of Palestine.

Zaman said that MSA chose to collaborate with H.E.A.L. Palestine because of their past work raising money for them through circulating a donation link during their daily iftars — meals eaten to break fasts after sunset during Ramadan — in March and April. 

Zaman added that Iradah is responsible for “overall website interface setup” and “doing the shipment directly to people for e-commerce,” while MSA handled the marketing and design aspect of the project.

In addition to online sales, MSA plans to sell sweatshirts at the Arbor from May 21-24. Based on how many sweatshirts previous Iradah fundraising campaigns raised, MSA aims to sell 300 sweatshirts by the end of the fundraiser on May 29, which would mean $3,900 raised for H.E.A.L. Palestine. 

Zaman added that, although the fundraiser’s aims are strictly non-political and humanitarian, MSA has included appeals in their marketing of the sweatshirts that are not strictly about humanitarian aid, such as the call to “Support the resistance.” 

“This fundraiser and its intent is supposed to be not as politicized, but because of the increasing movement on things like encampments, which ended up being politicized, as well as the consistent silencing of student voices on campuses specifically for the Palestinian movement and Palestinian liberation, that’s why we decided that it would be really difficult to only have focused on that humanitarian aspect,” Zaman said.

A version of this article appeared on p. 4 of the May 23, 2024, print edition of the Daily Nexus.