As I enter the final year of my undergraduate life, the excitement, pressures, and anticipation of finally jumping into the “real world” are becoming all too real. It seems that all my classmates, Muslim and non-Muslims alike, are equally as eager to break free from the student-life and tackle larger, more ambitious goals. All of my classmates and friends are working hard to accomplish their career goals, which range from becoming an editor for the New York Times all the way to becoming the first person to set foot on Mars. These career aspirations can undoubtedly be reached, but there is one key ingredient that must be in place to facilitate the achievement of our goals: a communal support system.

Community is a powerful and central concept in Islam, and much of Islam’s teachings are in regard to preserving a sense of community and brotherhood. Forming and preserving a community offers community members a support system, social interaction with peers, and facilitates the process of making friendships. Thus, as a soon-to-be college graduate, I feel it is necessary to form a community comprising of Muslims who are beginning their professional careers and going after their professional dreams. Developing a community of young, Muslim professionals would create a powerful support and networking system for community members, as well as further solidify Muslims’ professional, religious, and cultural presence in Oklahoma. For these reasons, I am eager to become a part of CAIR-Oklahoma’s Muslim Young Professionals Network, a community designed by and for Muslim professionals dedicated to achieving their career goals.

With all the unpleasant media attention circulating around Muslims, I am overjoyed that there is an opportunity for young Muslims to get together and enjoy one another’s company at CAIR-Oklahoma’s Young Professionals Iftar, which is also the kick-off event for the Muslim Young Professionals Network. I feel that this network has advantages that are unique to Muslims because it creates a platform for young Muslims to network, offer advice, and share experiences in halal ways without having to feel the social pressures of typical professional networks that arise from the presence of alcohol, excessive mingling, etc. This network is a halal tool for new and recent, Muslim college graduates who want to excel in their fields and in their faith.

College has been a thrilling adventure thus far for me, and I am relieved that once this chapter of my life ends, I will have a network of young, Muslim professionals like myself who can offer support, advice, and guidance so that I may purse my dreams. Now, I am confident that the positive image of Muslims will be upheld and furthered by upcoming generations of Muslim professionals.

Our 1st event for the Oklahoma Muslim Young Professionals Network will take place on June 17, 2016. Click here for more info and to register for the 2016 Young Professionals Iftar.