by Iqra Choudhry

With the growth of Stuart’s Muslim community, it’s not a surprise that the Muslim Student Association has experienced tremendous success in the past Muslim Interscholastic Tournaments. The Muslim Interscholastic Tournament, a national competition, allows students to develop leadership skills and inspire creativity while gaining a deeper understanding of Islam and the Muslim community. The competition consists of an annual regional and national tournament. This year’s regional tournament is set to take place at George Washington University. on Apr 1-3.

Of all the schools, Stuart will have the largest team competing in this year’s tournament. The tournament will consist of a variety of competitions that span out over the course of three days. Some competitions include the science fair, quiz bowl, business venture and sports such as basketball. The tournament helps students develop confidence and professionalism with public speaking and problem solving.

Sophomore, Marafi Badr said “MIST gives Muslim adolescents an opportunity to challenge themselves academically while creating healthy competition between one another. It gives high school Muslim students an outlet; a way to express themselves in a variety of mediums. From essays to photographs, from poetry to fashion, Muslim students are given a voice, an opportunity that is seldom found anywhere else.”

This competition allows students to interact with members of other MSAs in the region and meet a diverse group of peers who share similar talents and interests. Students are able to express their thoughts and ideas through various mediums and learn strategies to deal with stereotypes and prejudices against Islam and Muslims, otherwise known as Islamophobia.

MIST has allowed students living in America to get closer with their religion and culture. Senior Zahnib Kalsoom, vice president of Stuart’s MSA, said “This competition has taught me so much about Islam. There are multiple guest speakers you can listen to throughout the weekend like famous hijabi news reporter Noor Tagouri, photographer RidzDesign and many others who empower young muslims to be and do whatever they want to despite what others and the media tells them.”

With the competition quickly approaching students are working hard to secure a win at regionals and proceed to states. To prepare for their events students are practicing after school and are seeking help from many teachers. Others are presenting work to the officers and other competitors for feedback.

Senior Maryam Rashid is diligently working on the Business Venture event, which requires students to create a small business that would impact their community in a positive way. “I did a counseling group that helps people with problems and brings people close to their deen,” she explained.

After proceeding to nationals for the last few years in a row, the bar is set rather high for competitors this year. A win for the MSA would be the icing on the cake for Kalsoom. “Winning again this year would be the perfect ending to my senior year but even if we don’t it will be ok. Everyone will have a great time because it really is an amazing and fun experience where you get to meet new people and it’s all very exciting.”

MSA competition(color)- Iqra
MSA’s team poses for a picture after receiving several awards at the regional competition in 2015. (Photo Credits: Zahnib Kalsoom)