CAIR-Philadelphia’s Muslim Youth Leadership Summit Summer 2023 was a Success!

Over the weekend of August 19-20, young leaders from the greater Philadelphia area joined CAIR-Philadelphia for the Summer 2023 Muslim Youth Leadership Summit! These young leaders spent Saturday and Sunday at the CAIR office located at Friends Center in Philadelphia, learning from local leaders, community organizers, and politicians.

Rep. Madinah Wilson-Anton with CAIR-Philly interns and staff.
Young leaders in breakout groups.

Delaware State Representative Madinah Wilson-Anton kicked off our program on Saturday with a workshop on what life as a representative involves specifically as a Black, hijabi, Muslim woman. She provided students examples from her past and offered insights into becoming involved in student life and civic life. Students then joined CAIR-Philadelphia’s Civil Rights Attorney, Timothy Welbeck to learn about their civil rights. After the presentation, CAIR-Philadelphia Advisory Board members Humna Rub (Villanova Law School student) and Adam Attia (private attorney working on education law) were joined by Timothy to lead the students in mock scenarios built on actual cases CAIR-Philadelphia resolved. Students were able to brainstorm about what they would do if they were in the attorneys’ shoes!

CAIR-Philadelphia Civil Rights Attorney Timothy Welbeck discussing the rights students have.
CAIR-Philadelphia Advisory Board Member Adam Attia in breakout group reading through a case for students to solve.
CAIR-Philadelphia Advisory Board member Humna Rub and her breakout group.
Young leader writing out the facts of the case as they prepare to present.

Students then had lunch from iMunch Café and had the honor of having a discussion with Ubayd Rodriguez and Tone Trump, two philanthropically oriented artists/entrepreneurs, to learn about the power of stepping up for your community to create positive change.  

Lunch time!
Ubayd Rodriguez and Tone Trump speaking to students.
CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Ahmet Tekelioglu (R), Advisory Board member Adam Attia (L), and speakers Tone Trump and Ubayd Rodriguez (center) with our future young leaders.

After Lunch and Dhuhr, young leaders joined CAIR-Philadelphia Advisory Board member Durriya Shamsi in a session focused on mental health, where they had the opportunity to learn breathing techniques, have a discussion on their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and learn about different coping mechanisms. We ended Day 1 of the Summit with an interactive workshop led by the famed educator Keziah Ridgeway on critical race theory, structural racism in America, and reflecting on why most of our schools are deficient in teaching history from a critical perspective.

Young leaders making Dhuhr prayer lead by one of the young leaders himself.
Young leaders practicing breathing techniques with CAIR-Philadelphia Advisory Board member Durriya Shamsi (R)
Durriya Shamsi leading the mental health session.
Keziah Ridgeway engaging students in a great discussion of critical race theory.

On Sunday, young leaders joined Chaplain Asheq Fazlullah and Chaplain Umar Abdur Rahman in a rapid-fire panel to learn how to best answer and have discussions on difficult questions they may get about being Muslim. They were then joined by CAIR-Philadelphia’s Advisory Board Member Geeda Al-Haffar, who hosted a game of public speaking jeopardy before preparing for our lunch from Lazaro’s.

Young leaders during difficult questions session.
(L-R) CAIR-Philadelphia legal fellow Hamna Chaudhry; Youth Leadership and Advocacy Projects Coordinator Asiyah Jones; Presenters Chaplain Umar Abdur Rahman and Chaplain Asheq Fazlullah; CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director, Ahmet Tekelioglu.
CAIR-Philadelphia Advisory Board member Geeda Al-Haffar hosting young leaders in Public Speaking Jeopardy.
CAIR-Philadelphia Advisory Board member Geeda Al-Haffar hosting young leaders in Public Speaking Jeopardy.

After lunch, we started with an icebreaker activity on advocacy with CAIR-Philadelphia’s Executive Director Ahmet Tekelioglu, which was the perfect warmup for their next session. Young leaders were later joined by three local organizers, Jenny Zhang from API-PA, Lilah Saber from POWER Interfaith, and Mohammad Bappe from Philly Muslim Freedom Fund. Young leaders were able to learn about each of their organizations, the importance of organizing and join them in breakout groups to discuss in depth the lessons they had learned while working to organize and mobilize their communities. 

Breakout groups for advocacy icebreaker lead by Ahmet Tekelioglu.
Breakout groups for advocacy icebreaker lead by Ahmet Tekelioglu.
Organizing panel featuring Mohammad Bappe (Philly Muslim Freedom Fund), Lilah Saber (POWER Interfaith), and Jenny Zhang (API-PA).
Breakout group with Jenny Zhang (API-PA).

The day came to a close with an amazing workshop by McKayla Warwick from Collective Climb who focused on teaching students about restorative justice and how they can apply restorative justice practices. Young leaders then discussed conflict resolution and were able to role play through the practices they were taught. 

Restorative justice circle led by McKayla Warwick from Collective Climb.
Young leaders using role play to act out conflict resolution scenarios.

THANK YOU to all of the parents who drove students, speakers for teaching us all new skills and topics, interns and board members for helping make this weekend possible and a HUGE SHOUT OUT to the AMAZING YOUNG LEADERS who came out over the weekend ready to learn and be engaged. We hope you all had a great time and inshaAllah look forward to hosting you all again and seeing all the great things you do in the future.

As we begin to plan future events, we would love to hear any feedback you all may have. We would love to hear from anyone who has comments, students, parents, speakers, those who have joined in the past, etc. JazakAllah Khair!

Young leaders after receiving their certificates at the completion of the program!
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