Regional Debate Tournament Promotes Confidence, Quick Thinking

Community News

Faraz Ahsan, right, debates another high schooler at the 2013 DC MIST tournament. Many of the MIST debate winners honed their skills at the annual Mafiq Foundation Muslim Youth Debate Tournament. Photo courtesy of DC MIST.

Of the many skills required of an adolescent to thrive as an adult, debating is one of them. However, many young Muslims have yet to learn how to present an argument in a respectful, logical manner supported with evidence.

That’s what the Muslim Youth Debate Tournament (MYDT) is for. Since 2004, Maryland based non-profit Mafiq Foundation has organized essay, speech, and debate competitions throughout the greater Washington and Baltimore metropolitan region.

The Annual Essay Panel Contest (EPC) assists in establishing proper formatting and writing skills, building confidence and effective oratory delivery, as well as planting the love of Islam in the hearts of youth.

The debate segment empowers young Muslim voices. To be able to present an argument, back it up with reason and statistics, and win over your opponent is something everyone needs to learn how to do.

On April 27th, 2013, Mafiq held a three-hour-long debate workshop to prepare those planning to participate in the upcoming debate tournament on June 29th. Students were taught methods of powerful delivery, concise note taking, utilization of time, building a strong argument, and proper refutation.

After being drilled on the topics by instructor Faraz Ahsan (an MYDT veteran, and a debate champion for the last several years at the annual DC Muslim Interscholastic Tournament – DC MIST), an informal mock-debate was held. Attendees were called from the crowd to present their argument on topics like “whether or not there should be a minimum age to obtain a provisional driver’s license”, and competitors volunteered to refute it. The debate went on for a good half hour before finishing. Commentary and constructive criticism followed. Contestants ranged from middle to high schoolers, with proud parents watching from the back of the room.  “The [workshop] was helpful and easy to understand,” said attendee Danya Chowdhury.

Three additional workshops are planned to take place before the tournament.

Saturday, May 11, 2013; ISWA, Silver Springs, Maryland

Saturday, May 25, 2013; ISB (Al-Rahmah School), Baltimore, Maryland

Saturday, June 8, 2013; PGMA, Lanham, Maryland

The annual Annual Muslim Youth Debate Tournament is scheduled for June 29, 2013 at the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB), in sha Allah.

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