Empowering teenagers one at a time
March 31, 2017
The doors of the University Of Georgia buildings are packed with students rushing in and out of the buildings, and a feeling of exhilaration and excitement hangs in the air. Over 400 students, whether they are Muslims or not, traveled from many states to Atlanta to attend the 12th annual Muslim Interscholastic tournament.
Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (MIST) is a program of competitions and workshops designed to bring Muslims and non-Muslims together. MIST was founded in 2002 by a teenage girl in Houston, Texas, and now takes place in 17 regions across North America, including at UGA on March 17- 19.
Students organized a MIST team at Tucker High School. The team was diverse and included students from Clarkston High School, Redan High School and Stone Mountain High School.
Many of the students did not have any prior experience with MIST, and didn’t know what to expect. Kayf Bashir is a student at Clarkston. She joined Tucker MIST because it was an opportunity for her to experience something new and meet new people.
“Last year I didn’t do MIST because I was indecisive and wasn’t sure if I should do it, but this year I decided to give it a go,” Bashir said.
The tournament provided a wide range of competitions for students. Yasmin Sheikh is a competitor for Tucker.
“My favorite concepts were the group competitions like nasheed, short film and improv because you got a chance to compete in something you like with other people,” Sheikh said.
There are many lessons that can be taken away from the MIST experience, from preparing for it to the tournament itself.
“I have learned to use my time wisely and not do everything [at the] last minute because it’s a competition and one little careless mistake you are out,” Sheikh said.
MIST is not just about serious competition. One of the things participants love about the tournament is the fact that it brings so many young Muslims together in one place.
Iman Mohamed is a competitor for Tucker and wanted to express her talents as well as represent her school.
“You can see and feel the excitement around you,” Mohamed said. “You do feel a sense of unity, you chant with each other, you be with each other.”
The power of MIST brought together people who otherwise might not have been teammates or even friends.
“MIST was an amazing experience,” Bashir said. “I met lots of people, created friendships and competed with my brothers and sisters in Islam.”
Tucker’s MIST team is called MOB (Muslims On Blessing) and won many trophies. The girls got first place in nashed (singing) and first place in improv, while the boys got second place in nashed and third place in improv. In addition, they took second place in spoken word and third place in Quran recitation.