RACE, RELIGION + SOCIAL JUSTICE

First-ever Muslim youth conference held at University of Utah

Mar 30, 2022, 8:30 AM | Updated: Apr 29, 2022, 11:20 am

Muslim youth conference...

Muslim youth and young adults gather at the Union Ballroom at the University of Utah during the first-ever Muslim Youth Conference. Photo Credit: Jacob Rueda

SALT LAKE CITY — The Emerald Project, a non-profit aimed at combatting the misrepresentation of Islam, held its first-ever Muslim youth conference this week. It was held in the Union Ballroom on the campus of the University of Utah.

The conference is intended to help post 9/11 youth acknowledge their identity said Executive Director Satin Tashnizi.

“They grew up seeing their identity demonized on television,” she said. “And they go back into their communities, their Muslim communities, which is limited here.”

Negative public perceptions can also lead Muslim youth to shut themselves out of their heritage and their faith, according to Tashnizi.

Muslim Youth Conference

The conference was supposed to take place last year but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the conference was held in the Union Ballroom at the U. It featured workshops and discussion, lunch, and keynote speaker Ahmad Kareh, a communication professor at BYU and Salt Lake Community College. He is also the owner of Twistlab Marketing

Kareh said he believes prejudice and discrimination is still a problem for Muslims in Utah.

“I don’t know that we’re seeing success in that,” he said. “I feel like we’re the new target in many ways.” 

The corporate world has not been kind to Kareh, who criticized the effectiveness inclusivity training.

“I don’t see any true, actionable impact as a result,” he said. “I personally have reported things to HR that inclusivity training would say are fireable offenses and nothing happened at large organizations here in Utah.”

In the end, he said it’s not about what a company can do for someone, but what they can do for themselves.

The Emerald Project itself was started five years ago as a reaction to former President Trump’s Muslim travel ban, according to Tashnizi.

“We held [events] so that people in the community, and Muslims particularly, would feel safe to ask questions that they otherwise wouldn’t,” she said.

Those who attended

Students in junior high all the way up to university students attended the conference. Sarah Kamran, a health anthropology student at the University of Utah, said she got a lot out of the conference.

“I think they’ve been really giving us the keys to success on how to engage with more Muslim youth and how to make a difference in our community and make sure that our voices are heard,” she said. 

Emerald Project ambassador Nour Bilal said growing up Muslim was different for her as opposed to some of the students who attended the conference.

“I felt very lonely in the beginning where I couldn’t share my language, I couldn’t share my culture,” she said. “I couldn’t even share the way we do things like how we celebrate holidays or how we even dress up when we’re going to events.”

Bilal grew up in Syria, which she believes set her apart from other young Muslims in Utah.

Tashnizi said people from outside of the United States heard about the conference and were willing to travel to Utah to attend. She said she had to turn them away because the conference was meant for locals only. 

Read more:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Race, Religion + Social Justice

Managers involved with the Salt Lake Temple renovations have provided updates on the project, after...

Eric Cabrera

Renovation managers give updates on Salt Lake Temple

Managers involved with the Salt Lake Temple renovations have provided updates on the project, after four and a half years of construction.

3 days ago

The Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah held its annual "Guns to Gardens" event Saturday, June 8...

Emma Keddington

The Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah holds ‘Guns to Gardens’ event

Every year, the Utah based non-profit hold an event where they turn unwanted guns into garden tools. 

5 days ago

Two missionaries serving for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the North Dakota, B...

Eliza Pace, KSLTV.com

Two missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints killed in North Dakota crash

One man was from Ely, Nevada, the other was from Riverton, Utah. Both were serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

9 days ago

Thousands gathered at the Utah Pride Parade Sunday morning....

Tim Vandenack, KSL.com

GALLERY: Crowds of people gather for SLC’s annual Pride Parade

Underlying the raucous mood of Sunday's Utah Pride Parade in downtown Salt Lake City, though, was a consistent message.

12 days ago

Primary General President Susan H. Porter speaks to journalists at a media event announcing the rel...

Emma Keddington

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints releases 13 new hymns

Some hymns released by the Church in this first wave include "Come Thou Found of Every Blessing" and "Gethsemane."

13 days ago

Participants walk during the 2023 Utah Pride Parade in downtown Salt Lake City on June 4, 2023....

Britt Johnson

“Rainbow Alley” added to this year’s Pride Festival

"Rainbow Alley" is being added to the 2024 June Pride Festival to bring attention to other pride organizations around Utah.

14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

First-ever Muslim youth conference held at University of Utah