(LOS ANGELES, CA, 4/17/14) This past weekend, the WhyIslam team, under the ICNA Los Angeles chapter organized a successful interactive da’wah mega-booth at the 19th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books held at the University of Southern California.
For the first time in the 8 years since WhyIslam participated in the festival, a huge spin wheel was raised in the center of the booth. Participants filled out a questionnaire about the basics of Islam in order to give the wheel a turn. Prizes included their name written in Arabic, toys for kids, and henna tattoos for women. The free henna was a definite draw for many women in the crowd.
“The volunteers did an amazing job,” said Ali Tampi, co-coordinator of the event. “It was one of the busiest booths at the festival.”
The booth was attractively decorated with Moroccan lanterns and banners that proclaimed, “Quran– The Most Memorized Book – Get it Free” and “I LOVE JESUS because I am Muslim”. A large picture of the ka’bah surrounded by millions of pilgrims was also framed at one end of the booth.
“Alhamdulillah, it was a very successful event,” said Sameer Shaikh, co-coordinator of the event. “We got a lot of good feedback from several people saying ‘thank you for being here’ and clearing up a lot of the misconceptions.”
One individual who took the shahadah, the declaration of faith, was appreciative of WhyIslam’s efforts. “You went out of your way to take your time to explain Islam in great detail,” he said.
31 people accepted Islam over the two day period. About 1500 copies of the Quran and 2000 brochures were handed out. An equal number of Islam 101 presentations were also shared through personal conversation.
One woman came across the booth and said, “I’ve been kind of searching for a bit and it’s given me a new perspective.”
Another individual discovered that hijab was not a cultural imposition. “I learned it was mandated by God,” she said.
It was one the most successful booths that we had at the festival. “We would like to extend our thanks to those who volunteered,” said Tampi and Shaikh. “We could not have done it without you.”