FAITH

First-ever Muslim youth conference held at University of Utah

Mar 30, 2022, 8:30 AM | Updated: Apr 29, 2022, 11:20 am
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:

Today’s Top Stories

Faith

Groundbreaking dates for four temples in Latin America have been announced this week by the First P...
Mark Jones

Church announces open house dates for Saratoga Springs Temple

The open house dates for the Saratoga Springs Temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be from APril 15, 2023 to July 8, 2023, with the exception of Sundays.
7 days ago
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...
Mark Jackson

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Memphis NAACP pair to help mothers

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Memphis NAACP are partnering to launch "MyBaby4Me" to help new and expecting mothers.
8 days ago
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square announced three pilot programs Friday to help reach more peop...
Mark Jones

Choir announces three pilot programs to help reach more people

Three pilot programs were announced Friday by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square to help reach more people throughout the world.
10 days ago
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, voted to advance the Respect for Marriae Act on Wednesday while Sen. Mike L...
Simone Seikaly

Sens. Lee and Romney on different sides of advancing Respect for Marriage Act

The 67-32 vote allows the legislation to advance. If it were to pass, the RFMA would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and add safeguards for same-sex and interracial marriage.
12 days ago
A vote to advance the Respect for Marriage Act garnered enough bipartisan support to advance throug...
MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press

Same-sex marriage legislation clears key Senate hurdle

Twelve Republicans voted with all Democrats to move forward on the legislation. A final vote could come as soon as this week.
12 days ago
Respect for Marriage Act...
Samantha Herrera

Church issues statement supporting Respect for Marriage Act

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement Tuesday afternoon supporting the newest version of the Respect for Marriage Act.
13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
First-ever Muslim youth conference held at University of Utah