CAIRO - Gathering young, enlightened, outspoken Muslim youth, a leading civil rights group has hosted its annual youth program designed to inspire American Muslim youth to increase their civic engagement and empower them to reclaim the image of Islam through positive social activism.
This is the only leadership program of its kind in the Heartland which combines an American Muslim identity with our nation's rich civil rights tradition, Adam Soltani, executive director of Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told News Oklahoma.
Our goal is to inspire future leaders to work together to make Oklahoma a better place for individuals from all walks of life.
Hosted recently by CAIR-Oklahoma, the fifth annual Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium was held under the theme "A Lasting Impress, Building Our Legacy."
The 50 symposium participants were selected through an application process from across Oklahoma.
The event was designed to encourage young leaders to be social and community activists with the goal of working toward a better Oklahoma.
The weekend symposium included a dinner, workshops, team-building exercises and a talent show.
A mock legislative debate, led by State Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, in the House chambers at the state Capitol, was also held during the event.
Speakers at the event included former state Rep. Shane Jett and Rev. Chris Moore of Mayflower Congregational Church-United Church of Christ.
Other attendants included Seana Wilkerson of Tulsa-based Xposure Inc. and Edmond musician Ali Soltani.
The event organizers said they were keen on encouraging young leaders to be social and community activists with the goal of working toward a better Oklahoma.
The core mission of the Oklahoma Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium is to provide American Muslim youth with a proactive agenda for positive activism; empower them to lead their communities from the margins to the mainstream; and foster a healthy Oklahoma Muslim identity that fits comfortably within a pluralistic American society, CAIR-Oklahoma said on its website.
We, at CAIR Oklahoma, are dedicated to fulfilling our MYLS mission by organizing a series of workshops, debates, and collaborations with community and interfaith leaders, local and state politicians, educators, and others that cover a wide range of topics affecting the Oklahoma Muslim community.
Although there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to between 6-8 million Muslims.
A US survey has revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
A recent Gallup poll, however, found 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least a little prejudice against Muslims.