by Nabiha Asim
Over 300 competitors joined the Muslim Inter-Scholastic Tournament (MIST) in Chicago, held the weekend of April 1-3 at Benedictine University.
The seats filled up in the Goodwin auditorium as soon as Noor Tagouri, journalist and speaker, arrived to speak at the awards ceremony. Tagouri’s strong passion for telling stories and perseverance to achieve her dreams has been noticed by the rest of the world.
“A huge component of the MIST mission is to develop leadership, promote communication and inspire creativity. We believe Noor Tagouri is a source of inspiration and is a great role model for us. She’s shown us that we can make a difference in the world while staying strong in our faith,” said MIST Chicago Logistics Chair Safa Dada.
Tagouri was open about her personal life as she shared her experience of being a Muslim as a child in her hometown. Being the only one with black hair in her hometown, she underwent personal struggles with self-identity and self-esteem looking up to the western standard of beauty. Things slowly started to change when she found out that there were people out there who looked like her and thought her background, the fact that she can speak another language, was awesome.
Wanting nothing to do with Islam at first changed when she heard about this “MIST thing” upon entering Islamic school. Tagouri underwent an eye-opening experience which was none other than at MIST. Participating in MIST for two years in high school, she saw that there were all types of Muslims for the first time which helped her boost her confidence in her identity.
“I saw all these Muslim kids that look just like you guys, every background, every color, every style. I was like ‘Oh My God there are other types of Muslims.’ I was mind blown that people wore hijab at public school…The friends that I made there are the friends that I have now,” said Tagouri.
Considering that high school is a time where students often struggle with identity, Tagouri came up with a list of seven things that she would tell her high school self: embrace your individuality, discovering your personal legend and your vice purpose to be your most authentic self, do not waste time doing things that steer you away from your purpose, no one owes you anything, the power of visualization and absolute tawakkul (trust in God), rewiring your way of thought to be more grateful and more positive, finding a cause that pains you the most and living for it and then supporting others who do the same. A bonus tip that Tagouri gave was to empower our (Muslim) girls.
One way Tagouri has been working to empower girls is through #TheNoorEffect, a limited edition clothing collaboration with Lis’n up clothing and herself, explaining that the hat she was wearing with the word girl crossed is so that girls can be seen more. The profits go towards combating sex trafficking victims.
Tagouri’s main message to the young competitors was to be confident in their identity and to support one another when dealing with boys or girls or any type of person; it is important to look after each other as a Muslim community.