MSO hosts second spring conference

The two-day conference featured speakers from Georgetown University and Northwestern University.
Sumaiya Khan and Fatima Haider host a trivia game Saturday at the MSO Conference. The Conference was held Friday and Saturday at the MU Student Center and featured guest lecturers Ustadah Tahera Ahmad and Jonathan Brown.

The Muslim Student Organization held its second spring conference, Peace, Prosperity, and the Pursuit of Paradise, on April 27 and 28.

The two-day event was open to the public, and former MSO President Taha Hameduddin said he hoped that students of all faiths would attend.

“This conference is a learning experience for everyone, to make people more balanced,” Hameduddin said. “It’s more befitting to a university, not for people of a certain faith.”

The event featured guest lecturers Jonathan Brown, an assistant professor of Islam and Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, and Ustadah Tahera Ahmad, an associate chaplain at Northwestern University.

It was Ahmad’s panel about interfaith marriage that MSO Vice-President Fareeha Amir most looked forward to.

“It provided a different perspective, with Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths represented on the panel,” Amir said.

For Hameduddin, the conference was about educating students and broadening their horizons.

“When people come from outside, we’re giving them intellectual capital from the university,” Hameduddin said. “We are challenging ourselves to think critically. The purpose of a conference is not to eat the food but to think intellectually and gain intellectual capital.”

And for MSO President Yusuf Raja, the best part of the conference was listening to Ahmed’s lecture about forming relationships.

“(Ahmed) had a workshop about developing healthy relationships in Islam and how to go about being in them,” Raja said. “It was like a workshop and it was just really, really interesting.”

For Raja, the event was also an opportunity for the newly elected president to gain an understanding of his new leadership role.

“Setting up this conference was a step to prepare me for other challenges and a test what we can make out of this kind of conference,” Raja said. “We want to show that we are capable of providing an event that can really benefit Muslims, and it’s also about expanding and branching out to other people.”

Preparation for the conference began in November when a planning committee officially met to begin putting the event together in December.

Hameduddin, Amir and other committee members met once a week to organize the event to choose a conference theme, select guest speakers and work with the budget.

“It was a bit of a marathon, we just had to keep coming to the meetings even when there wouldn’t be any updates,” Hameuddin said.

For Fareeha Amir, the most difficult part of organizing the conference was the time it took to plan the spring event.

“The planning part was hard, and just doing all of the PR work and coordinating with sponsors and speakers and finances,” she said.

For Hameduddin and Amir, the hard work paid off by providing students an opportunity to gain knowledge from different perspectives.

“We wanted to create a platform so people can speak about issues and serve its members,” Hameduddin said. “We just wanted to give them an opportunity to learn from someone who is not from the university. It’s a bit more impacting.”

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