Known for cactus, heat, UFOs and illegal immigration, the Grand Canyon state of Arizona is home to 6 million people. It's economy relied only on its natural resources until a few years ago when the high-tech industry led by Intel started making its presence felt.
Arizona was rarely mentioned when talking about the American Muslim community. But that changed early this century with the swelling of the Muslim poulation to 50-70,000. The Muslim community of Arizona is not only visible but active in community affairs. It now has 2 Islamic schools and 5 Mosques in the Phoenix metropolitan area alone. The Maricopa County in which Phoenix is located is the fourth largest county in the United States.
The Arizona chapter of CAIR was formed in July 2001. The MAS chapter was formed about 3 years later. In May 2006 the first ICNA Circle was established during a visit by the Regional President to Phoenix. A weekly Quran study circle is being conducted by ICNA for over a year at the Mosque in Tempe near Phoenix by Dr. Talat Sultan.
On June 18, the first community event was organized by ICNA Phoenix: A Dawah 101 workshop. The workshop included lectures on the importance of dawah and presentations on practical dawah tips. The workshop was conducted by Syed Waqas Ahmed, Regional President of ICNA West and Amir Mertaban who is the former Dawah Chair of MSA West as well as an active WhyIslam volunteer in Southern California.
Several points including the frequently asked questions, do's and don'ts, speaking skills etc were covered in the workshop. The WhyIslam project was introduced to the community and when the local ICNA coordinator Dr. Hafiz ur Rahman requested for volunteers, more than 40 people immediately signed up. Different committees were formed with their coordinators for taking up tasks such as presentations and dawah booths in the Phoenix area.