By Urvashi Verma
CHICAGO – Over the Labor Day Weekend from September 2- 5th more than 10,000 Muslims from across the nation gathered together for the 53rd Annual Islamic Society of North America’s Convention at the Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago Il.
The event featured prominent Muslims from across the world including Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Basbakan Yardimcilari, Khizir and Ghazal Khan, Reverend Jessie Jackson Sr., and Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin among others.
The opening night started with a video paying homage to Boxer Muhammad Ali followed by an address by Sherman Jackson who recently spoke at the Democratic National Convention.
Jackson passionately talked about the Islamic convictions of Ali and his willingness to lose his title when he refused to go the war due to his religious convictions, and the sacrifices he had made.
“ When I say sacrifice, I’m talking about standing up for righteousness not going out there and doing something crazy. I’m talking about standing up for your convictions with mercy,“ said Jackson.
Yardimicilari (Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey) also addressed the audience and gave piece-by-piece testimony of the state of affairs during the coup attempts describing it as a “nightmare” which at times seemed “insurmountable.” He talked proudly the of the people in Turkey and across the world who prayed for the great nation and thanked the United States for their support during one of the most dark times for the nation. Yardimicilari credited “the will” which helped the country to prevail as a Democratic nation despite overwhelming odds.
“Well actually this is milestone for Turkey, most nations cannot resist an military coup attempt, people of Turkey defended democracy sincerely and full heartedly and within 10 hours managed to overcome attacks by tankers and F-16 fighter jets. Turkish democracy won and it was big victory for our people, it is shining example for not just under developed countries but even the western world,” said Yardimiciliari is a brief interview with News India Times.
In addition to the dynamic speeches the conference featured a diverse array of cultural events including film festival, Qiraat competition, Meet the Author sessions, basketball tournament, fashion show, job fair, match making sessions and Islamic Art Exhibit with paintings, glass and calligraphy.
The 3 day conference buzz word was “Islamaphobia” and there were diverse opinions on how to tackle the issue ranging from taking strong legislative action, to discussion about Donald Trump role in promoting Islamaphobia; to how to create community dialogue and discuss the issue through interfaith and community engagement.
“ The GOP has allowed Islamophobia to infiltrated their platform, it did not start from Donald Trump, Marco Rubio or Newt Gingrich, it was there much before, but today it has become an acceptable social phenomenon. The acts of discrimination he (Donald Trump) is appealing to are based in fear this is why more than 50 Republicans have not supported him” said Nihad Awad the Executive Vice President of CAIR.
“I believe that the best way to counter “Islamaphobia” is through community engagement. The Koran says to take care of “my people” often times we interpret it to mean our Muslims brothers and sisters, but in actuality it means much more than just that, “my people” are the community, friends and neighbors whom we interact with every day, not just Muslims. Our community needs to recognize that and once we engage them in such a way there will be no such thing Islamaphobia is our society. That is why ICNA engages the community through numerous projects like women’s shelters, disaster relief programs and education.” said Naim Baig President of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).
Article Courtesy: News India Times
By Urvashi Verma