The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations recently hosted its fifth annual Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

The event was designed to encourage young leaders to be social and community activists with the goal of working toward a better Oklahoma.

The 50 symposium participants were selected through an application process from across Oklahoma.

The weekend symposium included a dinner, workshops, team-building exercises and a talent show. The event ended with a mock legislative debate, led by State Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, in the House chambers at the state Capitol.

“This is the only leadership program of its kind in the Heartland which combines an American Muslim identity with our nation’s rich civil rights tradition,” said Adam Soltani, CAIR-Oklahoma’s executive director.

“Our goal is to inspire future leaders to work together to make Oklahoma a better place for individuals from all walks of life.”

In its fifth year, the youth symposium aimed to empower Oklahoma Muslim youths to reclaim the image of Islam in the mainstream through positive social activism, according to a news release. The event’s workshops promoted social justice, coalition building, grassroots organizing, public speaking and debating legislation.

Speakers at the event included former state Rep. Shane Jett; the Rev. Chris Moore of Mayflower Congregational Church-United Church of Christ; Seana Wilkerson of Tulsa-based Xposure Inc.; and Edmond musician Ali Soltani.