UTAH

First-ever Muslim youth conference held at University of Utah

Mar 30, 2022, 8:30 AM | Updated: 1:50 pm
Muslim youth conference...
Muslim youth and young adults gather at the Union Ballroom at the University of Utah during the first-ever Muslim Youth Conference. Photo Credit: Jacob Rueda

SALT LAKE CITY — The Emerald Project, a non-profit aimed at combatting the misrepresentation of Islam, held its first-ever Muslim youth conference this week. It was held in the Union Ballroom on the campus of the University of Utah.

The conference is intended to help post 9/11 youth acknowledge their identity said Executive Director Satin Tashnizi.

“They grew up seeing their identity demonized on television,” she said. “And they go back into their communities, their Muslim communities, which is limited here.”

Negative public perceptions can also lead Muslim youth to shut themselves out of their heritage and their faith, according to Tashnizi.

Muslim Youth Conference

The conference was supposed to take place last year but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the conference was held in the Union Ballroom at the U. It featured workshops and discussion, lunch, and keynote speaker Ahmad Kareh, a communication professor at BYU and Salt Lake Community College. He is also the owner of Twistlab Marketing

Kareh said he believes prejudice and discrimination is still a problem for Muslims in Utah.

“I don’t know that we’re seeing success in that,” he said. “I feel like we’re the new target in many ways.” 

The corporate world has not been kind to Kareh, who criticized the effectiveness inclusivity training.

“I don’t see any true, actionable impact as a result,” he said. “I personally have reported things to HR that inclusivity training would say are fireable offenses and nothing happened at large organizations here in Utah.”

In the end, he said it’s not about what a company can do for someone, but what they can do for themselves.

The Emerald Project itself was started five years ago as a reaction to former President Trump’s Muslim travel ban, according to Tashnizi.

“We held [events] so that people in the community, and Muslims particularly, would feel safe to ask questions that they otherwise wouldn’t,” she said.

Those who attended

Students in junior high all the way up to university students attended the conference. Sarah Kamran, a health anthropology student at the University of Utah, said she got a lot out of the conference.

“I think they’ve been really giving us the keys to success on how to engage with more Muslim youth and how to make a difference in our community and make sure that our voices are heard,” she said. 

Emerald Project ambassador Nour Bilal said growing up Muslim was different for her as opposed to some of the students who attended the conference.

“I felt very lonely in the beginning where I couldn’t share my language, I couldn’t share my culture,” she said. “I couldn’t even share the way we do things like how we celebrate holidays or how we even dress up when we’re going to events.”

Bilal grew up in Syria, which she believes set her apart from other young Muslims in Utah.

Tashnizi said people from outside of the United States heard about the conference and were willing to travel to Utah to attend. She said she had to turn them away because the conference was meant for locals only. 

Read more:

Utah

Hatch courthouse...
Kira Hoffelmeyer

Utah’s longest serving senator, Orrin Hatch, dies at 88

Orrin Hatch, Utah's longest serving senator, has died at age 88.
4 months ago
Pictured here are items seized from one of four drug busts authorities in Carbon County conducted o...
Mark Jones

Carbon County authorities make significant drug busts

Authorities in Carbon County, with a search warrant, have conducted four drug busts over the past three weeks.
4 months ago
...
Mark Jones

Soap box derby set for Saturday in Daybreak

Daybreak will host the second annual Soap Box Derby on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.
4 months ago
State street traffic sign...
Samantha Herrera

State Street traffic restrictions starting soon

State Street traffic restrictions are slated to start soon and continue into August. Work will impact areas downtown and near the Capitol.
4 months ago
Garth Brooks Salt Lake...
Simone Seikaly

Garth Brooks sells out second Salt Lake concert in 45 minutes

It was the second time in less than a year that Garth Brooks sold that many tickets for a Salt Lake City concert so quickly.
4 months ago
A Smith's recycling bin...
Devin Oldroyd

Recycle single-use plastic at your local Smith’s

In honor of Earth Month, Smith's Food & Drug is encouraging its customers to recycle thin-filter plastic materials at their local stores.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Prescription opioid...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: Key Information Before the Filing Deadline

Businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021.
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
First-ever Muslim youth conference held at University of Utah