(April 25, 2019, Washington D.C.) – The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) held its 44th ICNA-MAS Annual Convention at a new location in Washington D.C. past weekend.
A main session at the ICNA-MAS convention in D.C.
More than 24,000 people attended the event at the massive Walter Washington Convention Center, making it the largest American Muslim convention. Nearly 400 volunteers and organizers supported by similar number of staff from various organizations ensured that the event ran smoothly providing a great experience to the attendees.
Nearly 400 volunteers and organizers supported by similar number of staff from various organizations helped run the event.
Despite the massive size of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the center got very crowded at times, with the 24,000 attendees.
The logistics of arranging over 150 speakers and scheduling their sessions was handled without any major glitch.
A record 150 speakers from various backgrounds and specialties spoke at the event whose theme was “Healing Humanity: Lessons from Islam”. A remarkable aspect of the 125 sessions was the breadth of topics they covered. From personal spirituality to homeschooling and college admissions, and from Islamophobia in America to the worsening situation of Muslims in India and China, the Convention covered a very wide range of subjects, of concern to Muslims striving to live by Islam at the individual and collective levels. The programs held the balance in acknowledging the serious challenges of the community, while maintaining a very positive and forward looking atmosphere.
Shaykh Waleed Basyouni was one of the several top speakers from the country addressing the main session.
Many parallel sessions organized for the first time proved to be popular. The North American Indian Muslim Association (NAIMA) organized a panel on Indian Muslims that brought together leadership of Indian Muslim organizations such as AFMI, IAMC, IMRC, USIPI and NAIMA.
ICNA Sisters, the women’s division of ICNA, organized many sessions for women and also for Muslim Children of North America (MCNA). Over 40 languages are spoken by the attendees making this the most diverse Muslim event in the country. Parallel sessions were also held in Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, Somali, Malayalam, Bengali, Urdu and Indonesian languages. Also organized were many different programs for children of all ages as well as a parallel session for teens and youth.
More than 10,000 people gathered for the Saturday Maghrib (evening) prayers. Making it probably the largest Maghrib prayer in the country.
The convention featured a bazaar with 620 booths, a record increase of 22% in just one year, making it the largest Muslim marketplace in America. Vendors sold everything from tours and insurances to clothing and books. All major Muslim non-profits were also present with attractive booths and freebies. Organizers said the booths were sold out almost immediately after being made available and they had a waiting list.
Thousands of people thronged the main hall that included the bazaar, prayer area as well as the main session. The 2.3 million square foot center has hosted some of America’s major events.
Despite the size of the bazaar, there was barely room to walk around the booths due to the big crowds who ensured brisk business even well past the end of the sessions. A huge children’s play area was also setup with many rides and attractions where children can spend many hours. Last year the city of Baltimore estimated that the ICNA-MAS Convention brought $56 Million in revenue to the city and gave ICNA the “Customer of the Year Award”.
An elaborate booth at the Bazaar. The main bazaar or market place housed 620 booths.
The hotels managed the logistics of thousands of guests very smoothly. With sufficient meal choices and arrangement for prayers in all major hotels.
Accommodations were arranged by attendees in hotels, Airbnb, with friends in the D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland area. The tourism development agency “Visit D.C.” coordinated the reservation of rooms in nearby hotels. The convention organizers had arranged for prayer spaces in all major hotels, parking facilities and licensed street halal food vendors. Additionally, a prayer area of 65,000 square feet was carpeted and available for attendees throughout the day at the convention center.
The food court accommodated thousands of diners with a wide choice of cuisine apart from the specially arranged food trucks outside.
The 2.3 million square foot center has what is claimed to be the largest hall in America.
Community service award was given at the annual leadership luncheon to Nihad Awad, Executive Director of CAIR. Awards were also given posthumously to senior ICNA members Late Ameenuddin Hussaini, Late Umar AbdulAziz, and the Late ICNA President (2004-2008) Dr. Khurshid Khan.
A first time luncheon for the executives of major businesses and sponsors was also held during the convention. It provided an excellent networking opportunity to the attendees as well as a chance to get feedback on making the convention more beneficial to businesses and sponsors.
Luncheon for the executives of major businesses and convention sponsors.
Hundreds of the convention attendees marching from the convention center to the White House for a rally against Islamophobia. organized by ICNA Council for Social Justice.
A moment of prayer was held for the victims of the recent attacks in Sri Lanka at the rally against Islamophobia in front of the White House.
ICNA Council for Social Justice in partnership with other organizations organized a rally from the convention center to the White House to highlight the issue of the growing threat and dangers of Islamophobia in public rhetoric. Hundreds people participated in the rally on the lawns outside of the White House where several national leaders addressed the gathering.
Rally organized by the ICNA CSJ in front of the White House against Islamophobia was participated by hundreds. Several national Muslim leaders addressed the gathering.
The convention mobile app provided many useful features including maps, parking info, ability to create own lists of sessions with alerts, meal options, shopping info, and the ability to network with other attendees. The main sessions of the convention were broadcast live and watched by thousands online.
In the past 5 decades this convention has become a must-go-to event on the national American Muslim family calendar. An entire generation of American Muslim families grew up attending the ICNA convention and have made it an occasion to reunite with their friends and families and and share memories. Some youth this year were volunteering just as their parents as well as grand parents have been volunteering.
The Islamic Circle of North America is a leading American Muslim organization dedicated to the betterment of society through the application of Islamic values. Since 1968, ICNA has worked to build relations between communities by devoting itself to education, outreach, social services and relief efforts.
Islamic Circle of North America
Office: (718) 658-1199