By Susan Schwartz, MMNS
With Islamophobia at unprecedented heights and the Israeli Palestinian conflict seemingly no closer to resolution, Muslims in America must rededicate themselves to activism on a virtual daily basis. Muslim organizations must rise to a challenge that seems to be constantly expanding. One such organization is the Muslim American Society (MAS).
The Muslim American Society held a well attended and informative Annual Regional Convention this past Thursday through Saturday at the Weston LAX in Los Angeles, Ca.
The successful event was titled: â€œI hastened towards You my Lord so that You may be pleasedâ€. The theme of the convention as exemplified by the title was three fold: to enhance knowledge, activism, and spirituality. The goal of the convention was the integration of these three values into the lives of the participants through their participation in the lectures, interactive workshops, and activities in company with their Muslim brothers and sisters.
Among the innovations at this event were: interactive study circles (iConnect) which were held on two nights; a young professionals networking lunch; a Hall of Fame, featuring influential Muslim figures from the past, and a community showcase offering valuable information presented by successful local Muslim organizations.
Invited quests included (but were not limited to) such revered Muslim scholars as: Dr. Jamal Badawi, Imam Suhaib Webb, Shakeel Syed, and Dr. Mohammed Abbasi.
Three groups were represented in concurrent lectures: adults, young professionals and college, and youth. Sessions dealt with such timely topics as: â€œTalk Show:GENERATION; â€œGet The Balance Rightâ€; â€œEffective Teams: I, II, and IIIâ€; â€œThroughout Your Life and Across All Timesâ€, and â€œSo Close, Yet So Farâ€.
During one of the lectures, the formation of a new group was announced from the podium: The Association of Muslim American Professionals. This group seeks to bring together people with professions and people with business knowledge.
â€œWe want a forum where we can connect with these peopleâ€.
Believing that there is strength in numbers, the group will network and has already held discussions. Many more discussions and workshops are in their future. One may access their web site at: www.amapusa.org.
Muslim scholar Dr. Jamal Badawi during his presentation addressing the â€œbalanced Ummahâ€ asked his audience â€œWhat is the number one character of the Quâ€™ranâ€? His answer was those â€œwho believe in the unseenâ€. He asked his audience to be humble when you start reading the Quâ€™ran.
â€œDonâ€™t put your mind above the mind of Allahâ€.
â€œWhat a beautiful presentationâ€ said one young woman who rocked a baby stroller as she listened. â€œThere is so much to wrap your mind aroundâ€.
A marketplace outside of the lectures halls offered attendants a variety of presentations. MAS, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR); Islamic Relief, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), to name but a few, were Muslim organizations offering information and membership sign up. Other booths offered Islamic clothing, and books and tapes on Islam.
A variety of meals was served and entertainment concluded the event.
The Muslim American Society was established in 1993. It is multipurpose and includes charitable, religious, educational, social, and cultural goals. MAS is a tax deductible organization qualifying for 501 (c) (3) status. MAS works with other Islamic organizations as well as interfaith groups and civic organizations.It has become deservedly an internationally acclaimed grassroots movement.
To learn more about the Muslim American Society, please access their web site at: www.masnet.org. The web site for MAS California which produced the convention is: www.mascalifornia.org.