“There are people who do not like the ever increasing and blossoming Muslim Community. Muslims have always brought peace and resourcefulness with them, but then there are people, who feel increase in the numbers of Muslims would have political and economical implications on American society, which somehow they do not want to happen. As such their works and gestures are scaring and bullying the next generation of Muslims, so as to get them to leave the USA; several renowned and respectable Muslim scholars are also being pressurized. The time has come that Muslims should stop to tolerate this and start a non-violent unified response against this tirade, so as to make sure the future of American Muslim generations is preserved.”
These were the words of Imam Siraj Wahhaj as he delivered the keynote speech at the University Center – University of Houston of the 3rd Annual ICNA-MAS South Central Regional Conference. Both are leading national Muslim grassroots level organizations: ICNA is the Islamic Circle of North America and MAS is the Muslim American Society.
Memorial Day Weekend is considered the most traveled of the year. Still this past Sunday, hundreds of families gathered at this conference. This third year the theme was “Family: Key to Paradise”. This years’ theme was based on this Aayah (Verse) Number 6 of Quran, which is in Surah (Chapter) Number 66: “O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones; over it are angels stern and strong, they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, and do as they are commanded.”
Many prominent speakers spoke at the event, including Imam Siraj
Wahhaj, Nouman Ali Khan, Dr. Hamed Ghazali, Sheikh Abdool Rahman Khan, Sheikh Isam Rajab, Dr. Mazhar Kazi, Naeem Baig, Dr. Muhammas Yunus, Omar Suleiman, Sister Erum Chishti, Sister Ghazala Anjum, Sister Nishat Farooqui and Sister Saaher Tafsir.
Some of the topics that were presented included: “Family & Paradise: Then And Now”; “What Can Muslim Families Contribute to the Community?”; “Help Our Children Resolve Cultural Conflicts”; “Islamic System of Marriage and its Virtues”; “The Emergence of Family of Strangers”; “Shall I Point Out to You a Bargain That Will Save You From a Grievous Suffering” and others.
Attendees had come from New York, Virginia, Baton Rouge, Austin, Dallas, College Station, San Antonio and of course Houston. They went back home more knowledgeable about various issues of family and received many practical ideas and proactive actions, so as to improve their family life according to Islam.
Other than speeches and an extensive Muslim vendors bazaar, the Conference also featured the cultures of Muslims in various parts of the world, like Europe, Asia, Africa, Americas and so on: This exhibition was created by young ladies and was the talk of the event.
Another thing that caught people’s interest was the talk show
“Generation Gap,” which was coordinated by Nouman Ali Khan and Naeem Baig. This was geared more towards the youth as to how they feel gap between them and parents (especially if parents are immigrants). Youth generally spend five days at public school and do not have motivation to attend Sunday school. Thus Sunday schools are failing in terms of giving sound Islamic knowledge and qualities to the youth. What is most important for raising good Muslim youth is that they spend time with good friends, and the best place that can offer that is the masjid. However, programs at the masjid are not fulfilling the needs of the youth and that is why they are drifting away. There is a serious need for Sunday school alternatives and strategies that will make visits by the youth to masajid much more interesting and worthwhile.
The program started with the heart-wrenching recitation of the Quran. Towards the end of the day, several options were presented for people to become members physically, time-wise or resources-wise. For more info, people were asked to visit www.icnahouston.com or www.icna.org
About twenty businesses had their stalls, selling their Islamic and
Muslim merchandise to the participants. Tickets were sold at the
registration desk for the spicy South-Asian food by Lazeezah Restaurant of North Houston.
For more information about ICNA activities, please call 832-275-0786 or 1-866-CUB-ADAM.