Empire State Plaza meeting of Muslims includes ‘Who is Muhammad?’ theme
By Azra Haqqie, April 9, 2015
Albany – “Who is Muhammad?” is the theme of the Islamic Circle of North America’s convention on Saturday at Empire State Plaza Convention Center.
More than 1,000 people are expected to attend, according to Dr. Abdul Qadir Brula of Guilderland, one of the local representatives.
“We believe that the message of Prophet Muhammad is most misunderstood at this time,” Brula said. “It is important to understand his message that enlightened the world and gave it peace and to go back to it.”
ICNA was established in 1968 by Muslim students from India and Pakistan in North America.
The group holds an annual national convention on Memorial Day weekend in Baltimore that attracts 20,000 people.
The national organization, which is based in Queens, works with community groups on smaller gatherings. This is the first convention in Albany.
Speakers will include the national president, Naeem Baig of Herndon, Va., who studied veterinary sciences in his native Pakistan and came to America to pursue his master’s degree in physiology; Suzy Ismail, professor at DeVry University, and an author who lives in Princeton, N.J.; and Imam Khalid Griggs, a chaplain at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.
Imams from local mosques participating will include Abdur Rahman Yaki of the Islamic Center of the Capital District and Djafer Sebkhaoui of Al Hidayah Mosque in Latham.
Also Saturday, Capital Region community leaders will gather at the Plaza at a parallel interfaith conference.
Among the presenters will be Steve Downs of Project SALAM (Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims).
“ICNA strongly believes we need to work closely with non-Muslim leaders to clear misconceptions about Islam,” said Brula. “The misrepresentation of Prophet Muhammad’s message these days makes it more important for non-Muslims to learn about Islam.” He said the seventh-century messenger of his faith brought people of different cultural backgrounds into one fold, and Muslims and non-Muslims lived together in peace for centuries.
In carrying out its mission of promoting peace and justice, mobilizing international emergency relief and coordinating domestic help, it oversees ICNA Relief USA, health clinics and women’s shelters.
It offers student summer internships and holds Muslim Family Day at Six Flags amusement parks, which draws 50,000 participants.
“The event strengthens family relationships and enables families to enjoy a day in a culturally sensitive environment,” Brula said. “It’s an opportunity to bring the family together.”
“Who is Muhammad?”
What: Islamic Circle of North America convention
When: 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Albany
Also: Cultural bazaar with goods and halal foods, information on matrimonial and family counseling services along with a Quran recitation competition for children.
Article Courtesy: Times Union