By Aysha Jamali
The Muslim Inter-Scholastic Tournament, or MIST, was held Saturday, May 22 at Wayne State University for its annual Detroit regional tournament.
MIST is a program of regional competitions and workshops for local high school groups who then have the potential to move on to national tournaments.
The tournament, organized in part by WSU’s Muslims Students’ Association, consisted of a series of competitions lasting from 9 a.m. to 9:15 p.m.
“This is a very central location for the Muslim community,” Mansoor Siddiqui, a WSU senior and MSA president, said about WSU being chosen for MIST. “We thought it would be a good mix of our location and involvement from volunteers from MSA.”
The students, representing various Muslim organizations, milled around WSU’s Student Center as they waited for competitions to begin.
Competitions included math, poetry, fashion design, art, Islamic knowledge and community service.
Vernoica Choe, a senior from Grand Blanc High School, was participating in four competitions.
“It’s different for me, because I’m not Muslim and I’m not Arabic,” she said. “Personally, I think it’s a really good learning experience for me, and it’s fun.”
Each year, MIST chooses a theme, which focuses the competitions on one topic. This year’s theme was “Lantern of Modesty: Reflecting the Light from Within” and focused on the saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that the innate character of Islam is modesty.
The digital art and photography competition featured different interpretations of the theme. One contestant used a verse from the chapter of the Quran titled Light, another incorporated anti-discrimination and yet another photographed a woman wearing hijab.
“I think this seems to have catered to a lot of different types of people,” said Fatima Noorulla, a WSU junior and MSA da’wah coordinator, “and those people have found something.”
Many of the students were participating in multiple competitions.
“I’m a part of the MSA and there’s a lot of stuff that I felt I could do a good job in so that’s why I entered,” said Abdulla Tarabishy, a freshman from International Academy who competed in digital art and business venture.
MIST’s mission is to bring high school students together on a regional and national level to develop leadership, promote communication, and inspire creativity while gaining a deeper understanding of Islam and Muslims, according to its Web site.
“Not everyone is good at learning just through listening or reading,” said Shazia Siddiqi, a WSU graduate student and founder of MIST. “That might not be the best method of learning for them. This is just a different way of learning.”
Siddiqi said she came up with the idea in 2001 when she was a freshman at the University of Houston. She said she always enjoyed competitions and felt there needed to be similar competitions to provide students the opportunity to learn about Islam.
“High school is like the microcosm of the society, and that’s the one place where you will find every type of Muslim,” she said.
According to her, it can be the last chance for people to get exposure to Islam. She said competitions like MIST can attract students to participate in MSA and learn more about Islam in a fun environment.
“It’s a way to get people’s foot in the door,” Siddiqi said.
Students were certainly having fun during Quiz Bowl, one of the most anticipated and intense competitions of the day.
“It was really heated,” said Awss Saied, a WSU sophomore and MSA treasurer. “And it was really fun to watch.”
The Quiz Bowl round between Plymouth-Canton Educational Park and Grand Blanc High School was witnessed by an audience of around 50 people in a muggy and cramped room. Excited chattering hummed in the background as the judges explained the rules.
Contestants, eager to be the first to answer a question, slammed their palms on the tables in front of them. Each team argued for their right to answer, and cheers and chants sounded when each point was earned.
The scholarships for first, second and third place winners were provided by Fawakih Institute for their summer programs The Divine Names and Prophetic Eloquence. First place winners received full tuition to both programs, second place received a $400 scholarship to any program and third place received a $300 scholarship to any program.
Information on the winners can be found at http://getmistified.com/detroit/.
By the end of the day, the organizers from MSA were already looking to next year’s tournament and had ideas for improvement, such as more volunteers and better publicizing.
“It’s something I want to keep at Wayne State, for sure,” Siddiqui said. “I think next year if we did it again we would just be more used to it and more ready for what’s going to happen.”