The members agreed that there was a lack of communication among the youth groups, and that there was more they could do to reduce overlap of activities, collaborate on region-wide initiatives, and share resources and best practices.
“The MY DMV Council represents an opportunity for the young Muslim’s dream: Be a part of one masjid, but be connected to all, and know what's going on in all of your friends’ and families’ communities,” said Haris Qudsi, a youth leader from Baltimore.
Currently, 18 youth groups are connected through MY DMV including: (VA) ADAMS Center, Dar Al-Hijrah, MakeSpace, Mustafa Center and McLean Islamic Center; (DC) Avondale Islamic Center, IRHSCA, and First Hijrah Foundation; (MD) Dar Al-Taqwa, Dar-us-Salaam, Islamic Center of Maryland (ICM), Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB), Islamic Society of Frederick (ISF), Islamic Society of Washington Area (ISWA), Maryum Islamic Center, Masjid Fatima, Muslim Community Center (MCC), and the Prince George’s Muslim Association (PGMA). The youth leaders meet regularly at a new Masjid every month.
"Unity is powerful - if our youth understand this, than the future of this ummah looks bright," said Amira Ali, a teacher at ICM. Muhammad Ishaq, program director at Maryum Islamic Center, concurred. “The goal of unifying masaajid through the youth (the energizer bunnies of the community) is something revolutionary and a model we hope to implement throughout the country. We admire the legacy our elder generations have left behind and hope to raise the bar even further.”
Members of the Council recognize that many such unity-focused initiatives at the Masjid and MSA levels have either dissolved or became inactive. However, they are optimistic.
“For the first time, we are seeing youth coming forward to lead their peers and also engage the larger Masjid community,” shared Ibrahim Khan, youth director and executive council member at PGMA. “They have been brought up here in America, and are invested in their community’s future. We now want to create a model where we can train youth and make sure this runs strong even after the current leaders have moved on.”
MY DMV Council's upcoming projects include organizing a Domestic Violence awareness campaign through the Friday khutbas, area wide sports events like the upcoming 3Di Annual Basketball Tournament in June, a joint barbeque in late summer, and a Ramadhan Qur’an competition which would also bring together area imams for one night of taraweeh.
"It is truly humbling to be a part of something of this magnitude. I’m excited to see many youth leaders from the area coming together for the sake of Allah. A great step towards a greater future, In Shaa Allah,” said Abdul-Saboor Khan, a youth leader from ICM.
The author is co-founder of the Muslim Youth DMV Council.