Harrislam slams contenders at 2013 MIST NY

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Team Harrislam stands together at MIST. Photo by Nabil Ahmed Khatri.

“Harrislam! Harrislam!”

These chants filled the room as members of the Townsend Harris MIST team achieved third place out of a total of 24 competing high schools at the 2013 MIST NY tournament.

Since 2009, the Townsend Harris Muslim Student Association (MSA) has been participating in MIST, a three-day tournament involving 34 possible competitions in various categories.  This year, Harrislam placed first in the categories of Fashion Design, Short Film, Science Fair, Graphic Design, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Business Venture.  The team placed in the top three in over ten other major categories.  Individually, Nabil Ahmed Khatri, co-president of the MSA, earned 2nd place as an overall competitor out of all 439 competitors.

Despite his strong finish as an individual contestant, Nabil focused on the unifying elements of MIST when asked about his victory.  Calling MIST “the brotherhood and sisterhood of MSAs across the nation,” he said, “it makes me proud to see my brothers and sisters that are so talented. “

Sophomore Sadiqa Taaseen, competing for the 2nd time this year, said, “MIST means loyalty to me. MSA members who are loyal and responsible show the best results at MIST while still having fun.”

Senior Fatima Koli, MSA co-president, said, “It brings together both non-Muslims and Muslims from across the state to learn about Islam and share this experience with each other.”

MIST does not limit its competitors to just Muslims. The workshops and competitions are open to people of all faiths, and MIST encourages that the high school teams consist of members of different backgrounds.

Ellen Fee, the advisor of MSA and coach for Harrislam, discussed her time with the team: “I learn more about the culture and the religion of Islam.  My world expands when I watch and participate in the activities of MIST. It also allows me to see the similarities and differences between other world religions.”

546119_570695809617130_1087615157_nWhen the THHS MIST team first participated at MIST, they named the team “Hayatul Harris.”  In the 2012 tournament, the team changed its name to Harrislam.

In the 2012 tournament, the Bronx Science Brigade, one of the biggest rivals of Harrislam, earned spirit points by calling themselves the “Brigadorade” and linking their team to Gatorade.

To counter Brigadorade, Harrislam used Crush soda as a symbol and distributed pins to all team members that read “Harrislam Crushers.”

Bronx Science ultimately proved victorious, taking first place, while Stuyvesant placed second.

Nonetheless, team members of Harrislam felt that MIST was about more than awards and prizes.

Fatima said, “For me, MIST represents the moment where you can truly show what you have achieved as an MSA throughout. Participating in MIST and as co-president, organizing and prepping everything for MIST is not an easy task. But no matter how tiring and stressful it can be, I love every moment of it because I know that in the end, it will all be worth it, whether we win anything or not. Just competing in the tournament and enjoying that weekend of fun is enough to make everything worth it. Of course, winning wouldn’t hurt!”