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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Mizzou Muslim Student Organization (MSO) to hold 14th annual MSO conference

Karl Sobieck
The Memorial Student Union building where MSO will hold their conference.

Mizzou’s Muslim Student Organization (MSO) will hold their 14th annual conference Friday, Feb. 9 from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 10 from 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. The event will take place at Wrench Auditorium at Memorial Student Union.

The conference will host a multitude of speakers, many of them Islamic scholars, to speak on relevant issues within the Muslim community. This year’s theme is, “Indeed, it is not the eyes that are blind, but blind are the hearts,” which is a line (or ayat) from Surat Al-Hajj in the Quran. Conference organizer Sana Gaballah said the event has many goals, from giving a platform to important topics to fostering a sense of unity in Columbia.

The MSO conference empowers high school students to be active contributors to their community. [It teaches] them how to be good leaders [and] good speakers and [shows] them to always try their best for anything until [they] get what [they] want throughout their conference.

— Junior Rania Husham

“The conference renews the sense of faith of the community and strengthens attendees’ relationship with the religion,” Gaballah said. “It also introduces the beauty of Islam to individuals who may not be familiar with the religion and offers gentle Islamic reminders to our audience in general. The end goal [is] strengthening our relationship with Allah and building stronger community ties.”

There will be four speakers in total, Shaykh Mohammed Faqih, Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, Dr. Mohannad Hakeem and Imam Mohamed Herbert. There will be seven lectures, two workshops, two Q&A panels and a guest speaker over the span of the conference. Attendees can come and go as they please, and lunch and dinner will be served free of charge with refreshments in between lectures. Due to the public access of the event, junior Rania Husham said it can be a great resource for Muslim high school students. She encourages RBHS students to attend and said she’s watched many friendships form during past conferences and witnessed how it can support young Muslims.

“The MSO conference empowers high school students to be active contributors to their community,” Husham said. “[It teaches] them how to be good leaders [and] good speakers and [shows] them to always try their best for anything until [they] get what [they] want throughout their conference.”

The conference speakers come from all over the U.S., bringing a diverse group of people together to create a multifaceted perspective on Islamic discussions. Speaker Ustadha Ansari said she was given full autonomy over her lectures and will mainly focus on using the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to achieve a “sound heart,” as well as how to “fill the void in people’s hearts” in preparation for Ramadan.

Ansari is excited to address a more general audience as opposed to her normal Islamic students, and hopes to communicate the intricacies of the religion in a way that is meaningful to dedicated Muslims and newcomers who are there to learn the basics. She said this is why it’s important for high school students to attend and make these connections, especially since adolescence comes with an exploration of one’s religious and political identity.

“I hope that I can convey a presentation that would appeal to a Muslim who maybe is more advanced in the topic, as well as a novice who’s just interested in learning the basics of Islam,” Ansari said. “I’m happy to be able to address a younger [and more diverse] audience with my presentations.”

While the conference will be addressing how to cultivate more answers to spirituality from the heart and not one’s intellect, Ansari said, it takes significant influence from current events to integrate into the talks. Ansari said it’s important to make the connection between theories of spirituality and the actual practice of it and how the Palestinian people show the entire world what faith in one’s religion looks like: resilience, hope, trust and courage.

Gaballah said the event will place necessary emphasis on the genocide currently happening in Palestine, discuss the resilience of the Palestinian people and how to practice effective activism and include a short speech from humanitarian aid worker Dr. Rasha Abousalem as she recaps her trip to the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza.

“These lectures are less about discussing the events of genocide and more about honoring the unwavering resilience and resolve of the Palestinian people,” Gaballah said. “We want to highlight how their faith and conviction has inspired all corners of the world.”

Husham said she is looking forward to hearing what the speakers will say about the horrific acts inflicted upon those in Palestine, and how we can continue to help them.

“I want them to touch on mostly talking about Gaza,” Husham said. “It helps to educate other people, and the speakers teach us how to help Gaza when [they] live in times like these.”

The focus of the conference is to reach out to those who aren’t familiar with Islam and create an environment where everyone feels welcome to explore Islam. From her lectures, Ansari hopes that her attendees will leave with this idea in mind and seek to implement it into their lives.

“In the Islamic tradition, the heart is actually viewed as the true seed of understanding,” Ansari said. “To me that will be the biggest take away. We want to cultivate the spirituality and the insights of the heart because that gives us actually true understanding, even more so than the intellect.”

Will you attend the MSO Conference? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the Contributors
Maya Bensaoud
Maya Bensaoud, Staff Writer
Senior Maya Bensaoud is a staff writer for Southpaw and Bearing News. She is also co-president of Muslim Student Union and a member of NHS. In her free time, Maya likes to read, bake and listen to music.
Karl Sobieck
Karl Sobieck, Staff Photographer
Junior Karl Sobieck is a staff photographer for Southpaw and Bearing News at RBHS. 

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    Nusrat JahanFeb 9, 2024 at 1:00 pm

    I want to attend but haven’t done registration. Is it possible now?