Ibrahima Sako spoke in front of other members and guests at the American Muslim Orators meeting on June 30, 2019. Ryan Mancini/The Signal

SoCal guests welcomed at American Muslim Orators meetings

Members of Muslim Youth of Santa Clarita and other southern California residents participated in a meeting with the American Muslim Orators, a chapter of Toastmasters International, at Los Angeles Fire Department Station 87 in Granada Hills on Sunday

Those in attendance presented various topics and prepared speeches to reflect the meeting’s theme, “Stretch Your Comfort Zone.”

“In the act of communication is public speaking,” said secretary Mohammad Khouja. “Whether you and I are speaking like now or you in front of your co-workers…that’s how it goes. It just helps you to formulate a thought in your mind and communicate to others, in this format or any other format.”

The American Muslim Orators is the latest southland chapter of Toastmasters International, a public speaking support group organization designed to help those who work in sales, management and other careers. The group provides feedback, constructive criticism and evaluation to members, and allows and encourages them to perform public speaking. 

Khouja, a former Castaic resident, is one of several members from the Santa Clarita Valley, where American Muslim Orators began. Its initial demo meeting was at a prior MYSC meeting, and its charter is expected to be confirmed by Toastmasters in the near future. 

Canyon Country resident Farhan Rahman was one of the speakers. The California State University Long Beach student used a mathematical equation to layout one’s motivation to work. 

“It was a good bit more nerve-wracking than I thought it would be,” he said. “We obviously have our table topics, and the whole point of that is to speak on the spot. These were prepared speeches, but admittedly I did not prepare for this speech. I came up with this speech on the spot.”

Rahman, who attended with his sister, is also an MYSC member. He said the greatest value to be received was the feedback on his speech. 

“You can go talk in front of people as much as you want, but if no one ever gives you feedback, you’ll never know to reposition your walk, in a way,” Rahman said. 

While the organization’s goal is to bring awareness within the Muslim community, Khouja said non-Muslims are allowed to join and perfect their public speaking skills. 

“This is an open club and it’s healthy to be mixed,” he said. 

The next meeting is scheduled for July 14 at the fire station’s community room. Meetings are from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“There is a tax for knowledge,” Khouja said. “What I’ve learned, I know now from other people. They themselves learned from other people.”

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