By Rida Fozi
As Iqbal Shariff glanced around the Youth Conference hall, he noted something new. This year, the first two rows were reserved exclusively for a group of deaf Muslims. Shariff’s response first took the form of inspiration, quickly followed by emotion. He says, “As tears poured from my eyes, I asked myself, ‘How do they believe in Allah (SWT)?'”
Shariff is not alone in his admiration for his deaf brothers and sisters and Global Deaf Muslim, the organization dedicated to bringing deaf Muslims the knowledge of and love for Islam. The 35th Annual ICNA-MAS Convention marked the first time GDM made an appearance at a major Muslim event.
For the organizers, this year’s ICNA-MAS Convention was all about new horizons. Not only was this the first time any Muslim organization catered to the needs of the deaf Muslim community, it was also the first time an American Muslim organization broadcast its main sessions across the web free of cost.
While convention publicity generally consists of flyer distribution and TV/print advertisements, ICNA Live was publicized only one day prior to the convention chiefly through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. In spite of this, nearly 8,000 people logged on to ICNA’s website over the course of the weekend and nearly 4,000 viewed the live feed.
Waqas Ahmed, Assistant Secretary General and Chair of the ICNA IT Department expressed his thanks to “volunteers for working round the clock to develop, test and launch the ICNA Live feature.” Along with viewing main hall and selected youth sessions, individuals also participated in the Twitter/Facebook/AIM based chat embedded on the live feed page, marking yet another milestone for ICNA.
The convention core team began planning months in advance, inviting nearly 100 prominent scholars, leaders, and academics to speak at this year’s conference. The weekend’s lectures were framed around the “Save Family, Save Society,” theme, part of ICNA’s ongoing campaign to reform society through empowering the family.
Sunday night, Twitter user seebs08 echoed a sentiment that seemed to be bouncing around the Connecticut Convention Center up through Monday morning. “So sad this weekend at ICNA is almost over.” User issMEzahweee’s take? “Some things never change regardless of whether you’re 6 or 56… and one of them is the sadness you feel when ICNA is over.”
Photo(s) taken by Muhammad Tahir for ICNA
Nice pics! MashAllah
Great article; short & sweet.
May Allah accept!
Agree with Faizan, May Allah accept.
i may be not attened ur fuction . but i pray that it will ge great sucess …
Congratulations to ICNA, may Allah accept your efforts. How can someone become ICNA member?
I am proud to say that me and my family and friends were also a part of this greatest event and one more thing Asim bhai really sings!!!!
For the first time I watched partial live program thru the Internet, Alhamdulillah.
It looks like another successful year at ICNA, alhamdulillah. May Allah bless everyone who was involved in putting it all together.
Oh, I think I see Ashraf in the overflow audience picture!
Job well done. May Allah (SWT) increase the growth by 15-20% every year. AAMEEN
I had a great time….they need to put up more pictures. I want to see more BBAL picture. BUT mashallah it was amazing.
i muslim am name fatih frm never turkey :/
Dear MAS-ICNA Member:
We are writing on behalf of our union, UNITE HERE Local 450 and Local 1 in Chicago, the union that represents Chicago hotel workers. We are writing today because the MAS/ICNA Convention is currently scheduled to take place at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare beginning December 21st, a hotel where we and our many co-workers have called for a boycott. We are asking you to move the MAS/ICNA Convention to an alternate location. Please do not meet, eat, or sleep at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare until the dispute is resolved.
Over the last ten years, we have fought to make Chicago hospitality jobs good jobs with livable wages and family health insurance. Now Hyatt is trying to take away what we have fought for. Our contracts expired over a year ago, and since then we have seen our hours cut and endured massive layoffs. Our hotels are understaffed while our co-workers sit at home in need of work. And now Hyatt wants to freeze our wages for years and take away our good insurance.
That is why we are making the difficult decision of asking customers like you to boycott the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and not support them with your business. We are willing to sacrifice wages and tips now to get respect and dignity in our workplace, and to ensure that our livelihoods continue to support our health and our loved ones.
As a Muslim and as a moral person, please honor our struggle and our boycott and do not come to the MAS/ICNA Convention if it is held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. As a leader in the Muslim community and as a consumer, you have the power to bring this company to justice and stop it from treating its employees this way. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Leah Pine at Unite Here Local 1 at (312) 986-3945 x226, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hyatt Regency Chicago, 30 years
Mohammed I. Sozzer
Hyatt Regency Chicago, 24 years
Hyatt Regency Chicago, 10 years
Hyatt Regency Chicago, 13 years
Hyatt Regency Chicago, 20 years
Hyatt Regency Chicago, 10 years
Hyatt Regency Chicago, 14 years
Hyatt Regency Chicago, 25 years