The theme for ICNA-MAS Convention 2014 in Baltimore, MD and Los Angeles, CA.
By Shaykh Abdool Rahman Khan
For more than a decade, Islam has been the focus of much religious and political discourse in America. After the grievous events of September 11, many Americans began to openly express fear and distrust towards Islam and Muslims.
While most of this reaction stemmed from a lack of knowledge, there were also groups and individuals who would spread malicious hearsay and attribute it to Islam, feeding the flames of ignorance. Unfortunately, many journalists would pick up these false stories and create explosive headlines. They would claim to depict an accurate representation of what Islam was.
Over the years, the ICNA-MAS conventions have focused on various issues aimed at rectifying these distorted depictions of Islam. Topics have been presented in both a proactive manner, through engagement and education, and in a responsive manner, for example addressing attacks against Islam’s core principles in the 2012 convention: Defending Religious Freedom, Understanding Shariah.
This year, ICNA-MAS seeks to reflect on the meaning of faith. What does it mean to have faith in God, the Creator of all that exists? How does faith manifest itself in day-to-day life? Does faith enable us to become better human beings?
Fortified by faith, how do we submit to our Creator? How important is submission to God for spiritual growth? What happens when one submits to his/her desires and ego?
Lastly, when a Muslim affirms faith and submits, what are his/her obligations towards fellow human beings, the rest of creation and the environment? Is a Muslim responsible for combating societal problems? How can one make this world a more just, equitable and peaceful place?
With these questions in mind, the theme for this year’s convention is Islam: Faith. Submission. Service.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It serves as both a reminder of one of the most traumatizing occurrences to unfold on American soil and as a testimony to the resilience of every community living here in America.