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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Activities & Organizations

Muslim Students Association captures surprise finish at statewide tournament

The Muslim Student Association came in second place with 25 competitors and against 10 other Texas universities at the annual Texas MSA Showdown hosted by University of Texas at Austin. The UH team brought home 11 winning medals. | Safiya Ravat/The Daily Cougar

After years of little enthusiasm, the UH Muslim Students Association won second place at the fourth annual Texas MSA Showdown hosted by University of Texas at Austin on Sunday.

Showdown, a tournament with more than 14 competitions ranging from sports and film to arts and Quran, invited college MSAs around Texas to showcase their talents while reflecting on Islam.

This year, more than 250 students competed from 10 different Texas universities, including UT, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Rice and UH.

“Showdown is a conglomeration of different MSAs coming together for the sake of God, to promote unity and to create brotherhood and sisterhood,” Showdown student organizer Zignat Abdisubhan said.

UH’s participation in the event has declined in past years. One time, it sent only six competitors to contend with UT’s 30 and A&M’s 50 competitors. This year, 25 competed, almost tripling the number in the past.

“School spirit is increasing at an exponential rate within the MSA,” UH MSA Vice President Faisal Siddiqi said. “I have not seen this phenomenon as long as I’ve been a student here. It’s a sign of the general increase of school spirit that is present throughout campus.”

Decked out in red shirts and red headscarves and yelling “Whose house? Coogs’ house!” throughout the UT campus, the UH MSA made its presence known.

“Definitely lots of spirit from UH,” Abdisubhan said. “I never saw a person that wasn’t in red. Y’all asked, ‘Whose house?’ Well, it was definitely y’all’s house.”

Along with school spirit came school winnings. Of the 25 UH competitors, 12 won in their individual competitions. UH brought home 11 winning medals and scored the second most points of all competing schools, beating A&M and falling just short of UT.

The UH Muslim Student Association beat Texas A&M University and fell right behind the University of Texas at Austin for second place. The team said it brought a lot of Cougar spirit and confidence for this year’s annual competition. | Safiya Ravat/The Daily Cougar

“I think we showed everyone what we’re really made of,” UH MSA President Mohamed Radwan said.  “Being a commuter school, UH might be a little smaller, but I think we have a much greater bond than a lot of the other schools.”

Though some students expected the big win, many members of the UH MSA team were pleasantly surprised.

“We were the underdogs,” Siddiqi said. “We felt like the underdogs, and we knew that we were. But as the competition progressed, we started to feel more confident in ourselves, in our team and in our efforts to succeed.”

This unexpected finish, Siddiqi said, is just one step in UH’s way to the top spot.

“We see that UT and A&M, not only in their sports, but in other activities, have very strong school spirit and thus always succeed,” Siddiqi said. “UH has not been very well known for that, but now you can see us coming out of the shadows and becoming a very strong contender among the Texas schools in the future.”

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