The UTM leg of the Strangers Tour Part 2 consisted of engaging spoken-word poetry, thought-provoking comedy, and even a bit of old-school storytelling in the Kaneff Centre on Friday night.
The Strangers Tour began in 2012, when Boonaa Mohammed, Baba Ali, and Shaykh Navaid Aziz performed dozens of shows around the world, changing perspectives and teaching about Islam in a manner that appealed to younger audiences. The response was tremendous, and soon afterwards, a tour was announced for 2013.
The night kicked off with the award-winning poet and writer Mohammed, who captivated the audience with the raw emotion in his spoken-word poetry. Mohammed then expanded on and explained his poems in short speeches, a tactic that helped the audience digest the message that he was trying to convey and connect with him on a deeper level.
Next up was Aziz, whose style of storytelling puts the listener inside the story effectively. This style engaged the audience and kept them listening to every word, waiting to find out what happened next. Each story presented a profound morality lesson, which led the audience to reflect on and relate to Aziz.
Bringing up the rear was Ali, a YouTube personality whose stand-up comedy teaches people about Islam in a light-hearted way. Ali was careful not to be offensive, and strove to hit home with his comedy that met constant laughter but conveyed something deeper underneath.
This event was organized by UTM’s relatively large Muslim Students’ Association. Maryam Khattab, the MSA president, talked to the Medium about why she thought this event was good for the community. “This event showcases new and different modes of communication, reaching out to people who wouldn’t normally come out to an event like this, therefore expanding our community and making it stronger,” she said.
The Strangers Tour was entertainment with substance. Each performance took a different stance on Islam, and it was refreshing not to have them delivered in the usual lecture format.