MATIN Talks: Where Muslim youth enter the spotlight

A Muslim student organization identified a need among Western youth. Now it is giving them a public platform to share their stories.

A Muslim student organization identified a need among Western youth. Now it is giving them a public platform to share their stories.

 Ask any teenager or young adult what they think is missing in their lives, and chances are you will not understand their response. In a world now dominated by social media and virtual communication, youth speak the language of hashtags and likes. Online platforms are where youth define and discuss the issues they grapple with every day, and connect with others who share similar experiences. But how would our societies change if Muslim communities heard and supported the voices of their youth outside of just the virtual realm? MATIN Talks took the first step to answer that.

Started by the MSA-PSG organization in 2016, MATIN Talks is the first ever platform giving Muslims an avenue to express their ideas on a national stage. Frequently compared to that of a Muslim Ted Talks remake, MATIN Talks aims to promote Muslim Active Thinking in communities across the West through 12-minute talks about a specific topic that the average Muslim youth can easily connect with. The competition is featured at both local and national levels, with winners from the local events competing at nationals, held annually at the MSA-PSG conference. This year’s 49th annual conference will be held in Washington, DC.

MATIN Talks is unique in that it addresses issues that matter most to youth in the West. Previously, contestants have given presentations on activism in Islam, hijab as a testament to freedom, integrating Islam into student life, breaking the silence of mental health, Islamophobia and social perceptions of Muslims, and the struggles of developing a Muslim identity in the West. Contestants end on a practical note, answering the question “what can we do as a community to address this problem?”

The idea of MATIN Talks is rooted in the principle of speaking the truth. Muslims have voices and experiences that intricately fit into the framework of the societies they live in, but somehow their stories are largely unheard. Call it systematic Islamophobia or lack of initiative on part of Muslim communities, the problem remains unsolved so long as we remain content with silence. If Muslim communities in the West need one thing most, it’s a strong voice. And undoubtedly, the voices of Muslim youth are the most vibrant, brilliant and creative ones out there – waiting to be recognized and shared.

It is an undeniable fact that our voices and insights as Muslims living in the West haven’t yet made it where they belong: in our schools, careers, communities, universities, societies, and in our world. MATIN Talks took the first step to change that. What will you do?

To learn more about MATIN Talks, click here!

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