Harrislam competes at MIST 2019

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On March 30 and 31 and April 6, the Townsend Harris Muslim Student Association (MSA) attended the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament New York (MIST NY) Competition at City College and Hunter College, placing third overall. The annual three-day tournament brings together Muslim and non-Muslim students alike to express creative thoughts and ideas, developing a deeper understanding of Islam through a series of competitive events.  

This year’s theme was Honor in Humility, which was emphasized in speeches and competitions. Some of the competitions in MIST included Bracket Competitions, Arts, and Knowledge and Quran. The Bracket Competitions comprised of MIST Quiz Bowl, Brothers and Sisters Improv, Brothers and Sisters Nasheed (a vocal music competition), and more. Arts consisted of 2D and 3D art, fashion design, and photography, while the Knowledge and Quran competitions were tests based on books and Quran recitation, respectively.  

A common theme in MIST is a sense of unity, which many Harrisities embraced at the competition. First-time participant sophomore Jerin Tasnim said, “With a great team or environment it really does start to feel like everyone is family. Everyone was so kind and being able to share a love for MIST brought people from our team together as well as people from other schools.”

Freshman Zarif Rahman remarked, “My favorite part of MIST was the orientation, where each team got to say their own chant and everyone got to ring bells and make noise.”

This year, Harrislam took home a number of awards in a variety of competitions, including Social Media, Knowledge Test, Sisters Improv, Photography, Math, and other categories. Seniors Safiatu Diagana and Sohail Sookram placed second and third for the best individual competitors at MIST, respectively. Rabia Akram (junior) placed first in Knowledge Test 1; Sohail placed first in Knowledge Test 4; Nowshin Arif (senior), Filisa Mohabir (sophomore), Nabiha Zaman (senior), Zarif Rahman (freshman), Atia Ahmed (senior), and Ilma Aamir (senior) placed first in social media; Maryam Rahman (junior) placed first in photography; Safiatu placed first in Spoken Word; Kunchaka Foneska (senior) placed first in Math Olympics, and many other students earned second and third for multiple other categories.

One competitor out of the many who received an award was junior Afrida Khalid, who earned second for Knowledge Test 3. She explained, “I was honestly very surprised that I placed for my competition because it was my first time competing and I didn’t think I did very well… Walking [to the stage], I felt very proud of myself and happy that I was able to represent my team.”

Not only were there a series of competitive events at MIST, but also a variety of educational workshops. Senior Joseph Zhao commented, “I feel like one of the most important things that I learned from MIST was how to be a good person. At MIST there are workshops that we can attend, and one of them was about the concept of masculinity. In that workshop, the presenter was basically telling us how we, as young adults, need to learn how to fulfill the responsibilities we will have when we grow up to be men.”

Joseph also elaborated on how he was warmly embraced at MIST despite being a non-Muslim. He explained, “It definitely made me feel a bit out of place at first. However, I was welcomed and greeted with open arms by everyone that I interacted with. It was a very loving environment for me to be in.”

Many students agreed that MIST is more than simply a competition. Harrislam MIST Organizer Moonshath Haque stated, “MIST allows young Muslims to connect and express themselves, but more importantly, it gives them a platform to shed light on the true meaning of Islam by attempting to alleviate some of the stigma created about Muslims.”

Junior Hudaiba Khatri added, “The supportive and kind people I found [in MIST] are a blessing to have; the school pride that emerged is such an advantageous and powerful feeling. I can’t really encompass my feelings in words but I am definitely joining again next year and I strongly recommend anyone to do so too.”