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Introducing the Young Professionals of the ICSC

By: Marya Mikati, YP of ICSC Co-founder

ICSC Young Professionals is the newest group to join the Islamic
Center of Southern California. The group was started by Lena
Ameripour, Marya Mikati, and Sarah Naqvi because they felt something
was missing from the groups aimed at the twenty-something to early
thirties age group. In talking to their peers they realized that this
was a common theme. Most young Muslims felt that after they had
“outgrown” the youth group it was difficult to attend the mosque
frequently and they no longer felt a connection to their local mosque.
Others wanted a non-judgmental environment to learn about Islam and
discuss issues conflicting with their Islamic values that they came
across in their professional and personal lives. Finally, others just
wanted to develop friendships with other Muslims through social
events. Ameripour, Mikati, and Naqvi decided that a group that met
bi-weekly at the Islamic Center and focused its activities around
spiritual and professional growth would serve all these needs. From
the very first kick-off meeting, it appeared that the rest of their
peers agreed! ICSC Young Professionals kick-off meeting was attended
by 70 young Muslims from all over Southern California ranging from
Thousand Oaks to Riverside. All the members were excited to get
involved and be a part of this new group and Adam Momand was appointed
sports coordinator.

Throughout the summer and Ramadan, ICSC Young Professionals continued
to have several successful events. The first was a game night in which
the members played Who Wants to be a Muslimaire (an Islamic trivia
game based on the popular game show) and Settler of Catan. This social
event was a great first bonding experience for the members that
attended and also a great learning experience. Every member walked
away learning a new fact about Islamic history and traditions and one
member even learned how to pray for the first time! The second social
activity was a sports day in which attendees played a variety of games
all day and had a great discussion about their goals for Ramadan.
During Ramadan, ICSC Young Professionals hosted an Iftar and gift
exchange at a popular halal Mediterranean restaurant. Although this
was a social event, it was great to see how dedicated each member was
to their faith, as evidenced by the group prayer that was conducted in
the parking lot! Finally, ICSC Young Professionals participated in a
Qiyam at the Islamic Center and spent the entire night praying, having
discussions, and eating suhoor together. A new member who joined that
night commented that he had never experienced such a feeling of
comfort and connection with other Muslims as he did that night and
felt that he could ask any question that he had or discuss any
religious issue he had without any judgement. During Ramadan ICSC
Young Professionals also participated substantially in MYG’s bake sale
to benefit TIYYA foundation and also MECA’s annual toy drive.

Ameripour, Mikati, and Naqvi commented that although they knew the
group would be a hit, they were surprised at the levels of interest
and enthusiasm that they experienced from the community. Just two
months and five events into the group and already strong friendships
have been built and many members have shared the many ways that the
group has impacted their religious and spiritual development.

ICSC Young Professionals kicks off their first year on September 11th
with bi-weekly meetings being held from 2-4 at the Islamic center. The
founders stated that an exciting lineup of speakers and activities
have been established and welcome everyone to come and check out a
meeting! Questions and comments can be sent to
ICSCYOUNGPROFESSIONALS@gmail.com. More information and events can be
found on the facebook group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/162654940464703/

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