LOS ANGELES, California (April 26, 2012) – “We were attracted to this booth and, as I was always curious about the Quran, this gave me a chance to embrace Islam,” says Joseph, one of the six people who embraced Islam at the 17th Annual LA Times Festival of Books this past weekend. The festival at the University of Southern California was a two-day event celebrating writing and literature.
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was started in 1996 and has since become the largest and most prestigious book festival in the country, attracting 140,000 people annually.
Nestled among the hundreds of vendors and exhibitors, the WhyIslam booth at the festival distributed free literature and translated copies of the Qur’an. A project of Islamic Circle of North America, WhyIslam is dedicated to helping people learn about the Muslim faith. The organization works to clear misconceptions about Islam through booths at fairs like the one held this past weekend, and through the printing and distribution of literature on Islamic topics.
This year, WhyIslam handed out 4,182 copies of the Qur’an in English and Spanish, and more than 8,000 pamphlets at the festival, an 80% increase since last year, making it the largest Muslim outreach booth in America. This is the 8th consecutive year that the WhyIslam team participated in the event.
Over the course of the weekend, volunteers answered questions posed by booth visitors and happily gave pamphlets and booklets to those interested in learning more. The group distributed free translations of the Qur’an along with other informative material that touched on a wide range of issues including human rights in Islam and Shariah.
“The volunteers at the booth conducted themselves professionally and listened patiently to the questions and concerns from the visitors. It was a very cordial and educational interaction,” said Albert Tampi, Event Coordinator. Spanish speaking volunteers as well as a volunteer fluent in sign language were key to the dialogue at the booths, as two of those who embraced Islam were Spanish speakers.
Like millions of people around the globe, ICNA’s leadership and members are processing the heartbreaking news of a 7.8 earthquake and aftershocks that wreaked havoc