1st Annual IONA Street Fair
By Adil James, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
Warren–August 15–Many local mosques have made an effort to reach out to their local communities, and just such an effort was this past weekendâ€™s street fair at the IONA mosque in Warren.
The mosque blocked off its large parking lot and hosted vendors of food and clothing, and provided health screenings to fair attendees.
Dr. Naseer Ahmad, who provided glucose diabetes screenings, explained that as of early in the afternoon he had screened 51 people for diabetes.
In part the purpose of this street fair was to break any ice remaining with local neighbors of the mosque, some of whom vociferously opposed the mosque. The fair bore fruit, as the Warren mayor and several city councilmen attended early on Saturday.
The mosqueâ€™s imam, Mustapha El-Tourk, explained that several other local non-Muslims had attended as well.
â€œThis is our first year–we hope to continue the tradition,â€ he explained. â€œWe want to draw the non-Muslim community so they will know who we are–we donâ€™t discriminate against other cultures and religions.â€
â€œThis is a changing community,â€ he went on to say, pointing out that just a few years ago Warren was overwhelmingly white and Christian, while now there are many different ethnicities and religious communities who have made the Detroit suburb their home, including a Buddhist community, people from the Hmong community, and of course many Muslims from the subcontinent and from the Arab world. As evidence of this and of the mutual goodwill in the area, Reverend Curro (Exec. Director of the ICRJ) and also two Buddhist monks in saffron robes were at the fair.
Imam El-Tourk is very involved in local Muslim organizations and interfaith groups, including the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM) which has its office in the IONA buildiing, and he has just been nominated president of the Interfaith Center for Racial Justice (ICRJ), of which Rev. Curro is the executive director.
The imam explained IONA would follow the FCNA pronouncement regarding Ramadan and â€˜Eid, therefore tarawih will begin Friday night insha`Allah, and fasting Saturday.
Speaking on the FCNA/ISNA pronouncement regarding moonsighting, Imam El-Tourk explained that â€œthere is enough evidence for both sides, and Prophet (s) used to take the easiest way, as long as there was no sin in it. Letâ€™s be merciful in our communities–one â€˜eid and one Ramadan.â€
Imam El-Tourk said â€˜isha prayers would begin at 9:45pm, followed by tarawih prayers, and he explained that each tarawih session would begin with a ten minute description of the Qur`anic passages to be covered in that session.