Press Releases

CAIR-MN 2nd Annual Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium a Success

MN-MYLS(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 10/21/13) — On October 18 and 19, some 50 students participated in the second annual Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium (MYLS) hosted by the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN).

MYLS seeks to provide American Muslim youth with a proactive agenda for positive activism; empower them to guide their communities from the margin to the mainstream; and foster a healthy American Muslim identity that fits comfortably within the pluralistic American society while true to its faith values.

The two-day event featured:

A Jewish-Muslim Student Mock Legislature at the Minnesota State Capitol

Students from CAIR-MN’s MYLS and Jewish Community Action’s Seeds of Justice served as legislators in the House Chambers. They debated public policy issues and bills at the student-run mock legislature, including: Minnesota Bullying Prevention; Minnesota Omnibus Education Bill; Minnesota Dream Act; Prohibiting Use of Drones in Minnesota; Minnesota Minimum Wage Hike; Minnesota Omnibus Tax bill; Gun Control; Establishing a Crime for Driving Aggressively, Inattentively or Carelessly; Medical Marijuana and Medicaid Expansion. The program provided students with leadership skills and the tools to understand the legislative process.

Discussion on Civic Engagement with Leaders at the State Capitol

Students interacted with government officials, state representatives, and Jewish and Muslim community leaders in a session on “Building Better Communities through Civic Engagement.â€

Career Networking Dinner at Best Western Kelly Inn, St. Paul

Students chose from a range of career choices, including law, medicine, business, pharmacy, information technology, engineering, teaching, media, and more. Students networked with Muslim professionals who work in diverse fields but are still engaged and active community leaders. The evening concluded with a panel discussion on “Getting Involved & Serving the Community- in Any Career.â€

Leadership & Empowerment Conference at Hamline University

The full-day program provided students an opportunity to explore their leadership. Sessions and activities included: “Generation Next: How Do I Make a Difference?;†Interviewing Skills Workshop; Resume Writing Workshop; “Carrying Yourself as a Leader;†“Why It's Our Duty to Stand Up;†and media relations training with CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

Awards Ceremony & Banquet at Hamline University

Parents joined students for dinner and conversation on the American Muslim community’s challenges and opportunities. Highlights from MYLS were shared and awards were distributed to youth who organized the student-run conference. The keynote speaker was scholar Tamara Gray, who spoke on, “Defining Our American Muslim Identity.â€

“MYLS was founded to build new foundations for students to become involved in community and public service in Minnesota,†said CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya. “It seeks to provide students with the tools and resources they need to achieve their potential, as well as motivate them to pursue careers that will impact the broader society.â€

“MYLS is a unique opportunity,†said CAIR-MN Events Intern and MYLS lead organizer Suheila Musani. “It provides opportunities and networks for youth to become a catalyst for social change.â€

Sponsors included: Abushanab Barber Shop, Al-Amal School, Filfillah Restaurant, Hamdi Restaurant, Islamic Center of Minnesota- Women's Society, Islamic Resource Group, Jewish Community Action, Metro Health Care Services, LLC, and Muslim Essence.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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