Team Dar-us-Salaam Maintains MIST Dominance

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Despite Higher Level of Competition from Public, Private Schools, DUS Wins 6th Year In a Row

Young men rehearsing nasheeds, high school students dressed similar to their teams, old friends greeting each other, plenty of duaas and well wishes, and a general aura of friendly competition in the air. Mixed with the sights and smells of spring, all this can mean only one thing: must be MIST weekend.

And it was. The 2010 annual DC MIST competition, which was held from Apr. 9-11, was one of the biggest in DC MIST history. Over 400 high school students from the Washington Metropolitan area gathered at the Stamp Student Union of the University of Maryland, College Park, after months of preparation and planning, to face off against one another, show off team spirit in the pep rally, and take home lessons learned during the many MIST lectures.
This year’s theme for DC MIST was “Modesty: Reflecting the Light from Within,” an ideal which seemed to have left its mark at DC MIST. Though it was as exciting as ever, MIST this year was also more peaceful, cool, and relaxed, according to program committee co-chair Nimat Baig. The theme of modesty truly seemed to have carried on to every facet of the MIST experience.

Such was the case with the entertainment portion of the event. The soulful words of Islamic poet Boonaa Mohammed left the crowd as responsive as ever, not just outwardly, but inwardly as well. Mohammed’s rhymes about hijab, surrender, and humility got not only the MIST participants to think, but also the organizers, speakers, coaches, and judges.

“People loved Boonaa Mohammed’s performance at the awards ceremony, which was a first for MIST as well as for Boonaa. The energy was contagious during his performance. Another example of this energy came during the combined nasheed between Blair High School, Dar us Salaam, and Montgomery Blair High School. It was awesome,” said MIST fundraising chair Manaar Zuhurudeen.

The idea of modesty carried on into MIST’s biggest night- Sunday evening’s awards ceremony. The event was as exciting and memorable as ever. Teammates cheered and congratulated each other on a job well done when recognized for their hard work.

Team Dar Us Salaam carried on its six-year winning streak and took home the first place trophy. In a surprising change, the team from Eleanor Roosevelt High School took home the second place title, and the Islamic Saudi Academy won third place.

Individual winners included Ranya Eshera (Atholton High School) and Sana Farooqui (Dar Us Salaam) for fourth place, Basmah Nada (Dar as Salaam) in third place, Yasmin Othman (Team ISA) and the first place winner, Sagah Ahmed (Team ISA).

About their step up from last year’s third place win, Eleanor Roosevelt High School team member and organizer Sheima Gimie said, “We’re just really thankful that all our hard work has taken us one step closer to first place. We definitely put in much more effort than last year and it’s showing, Alhamdulillah.”

But it wasn’t just the larger, well-known teams who were recognized for their efforts at this year’s competition. Rather, 2010 awarded a place on the MIST map for smaller teams, such as Northwest High School’s “Deen Champs,” who won first place for the short film competition.

Fawwaz Siddiqui, one of the proud members of “Deen Champs,” said his entire team was surprised when their first place win was announced.

“The win took us all by surprise. The film was so much fun to film with my brothers and participating in MIST taught me to value the importance of teamwork. I learned to support those in my team and to support members of other teams when they win.”

An especial congratulations was given to Dar Us Salaam’s Mustabin Hossain, whose first place fashion design entry will be featured by Muslim designer Primo Moda in its next collection.

For many students, organizers, volunteers, observers, and speakers, there was something about 2010 MIST that set it apart from the competitions in other years. Many participants said that this year’s competition was “the best ever.”

“Aside from all the countless hours of work the organizers put in to make MIST successful, I think the competitors themselves enjoyed this year’s MIST in particular because they came with open minds and hearts with the goal of having the best possible weekend they could have, and making the most of it,” said program co-chair Amina Haleem.

“No MIST has ever gone any smoother,” said Outreach Committee head Omnia Joehar, who participated in MIST for a few years before organizing for the first time this year. “I truly saw all the hard work and time spent come alive during this MIST weekend, and the work of many organizers, volunteers, misters, coaches, and parents truly made this MIST shine brighter than any other MIST.”

Regional director Mahvish Ameen echoed the sentiment of her fellow board members. “This year’s DC MIST really reflected the strong bond shared between the board members and everyone who contributed to this year’s competition. The coaches were incredibly cooperative- they helped keep the weekend going smooth and gave constant feedback. Parents and community members motivated the organizers and gave continuous support. Speakers made their topics engaging for the competitors, and the competitors… well, without our talented and passionate competitors, there would be no MIST. They outdid themselves this year, with the amount of effort and positivity they each brought to the weekend.  Everyone really blossomed in their responsibilities and took an extra step into making DC MIST 2010 one of the most amazing mashAllah.”

For Ameen, the 2010 DC MIST was more exciting as ever, but was also somewhat bittersweet. This year marks the last for Ameen’s involvement with DC MIST. She will be relocating, and therefore, passing on the MIST leadership to current tournament chair Adam Kareem.

“SubhanAllah, leaving DC MIST is so difficult for me, and the only thing that is making it easier is knowing Adam and the rest of the DCMIST board are so passionate about making DCMIST grow inshaAllah. I loved being able to give back to the community and seeing the talent and leadership in our youth. It is so important to embrace what the youth can give to the community and I will definitely miss doing it in DC.”

Adam Kareem, who will be taking over as regional director after Ameen’s departure, has spent the 2010 year under the Ameen’s mentorship of Ameen and is looking forward to the future of MIST and filling some very large shoes. He has one major dream for the future of DC MIST: “Growth. Growth in about every aspect.” Included in these plans for growth- MIST soccer, lower registration costs, sponsorship, and a renewed dedication to “good, wholesome, Islamic fun, and making sacrifices for the sake of Allah(s).”

Congratulations to all the MIST participants, may Allah(s) reward your efforts!