More than Twelve Thousands of Muslims and Muslim Americans are converged on Chicago as the city hosts the Islamic Society of North America 54th annual convention, this weekend June 30 - July 3, 2017at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center Rosemont, IL.ISNA convention of the largest umbrella organization of Muslims, representing more than 2,500 mosques and community centers throughout the U.S.
The Islamic Society of North America dates its origin from an early association founded by Muslim students in the Midwest in 1963. Today, it is the largest Muslim body in the United States. The convention had more than 200 hundred of speakers, several roundtable discussions, art exhibits, films, fashion shows, a basketball tournament, a bazaar and many other activities.
This Muslim body when initially incorporated was called the Muslim Student Association or Called MSA, with chapters on university and college campuses. Its goal was to keep the light of Islam alive for the students coming to America for higher education from the Islamic lands. For almost three decades after its formation the organization remained a student oriented body, even as its founders turned forties and fifties and had become well-established professionals.
The theme this year was "Hope and Guidance through the Qur'an,"
The ISNA goal is to unite people across different faiths and different backgrounds in the spirit of peace and better understanding. ISNA President Azhar Azeez said in opening session. He also said in another session "our hope is to continue shaping a new narrative around what it means to be a mainstream Muslim.
Every year, ISNA selects a member of the North American Muslim community who has displayed an exceptional example of commitment and dedication to community service and present them with the Community Service Recognition Award. This year, ISNA honored to present the award to Dr. Sayyid M Syeed for his lifelong dedication to the American Muslim community, globally Islamic work, social justice issues and interfaith.
The keynote speaker was Linda Sarsour who recently was named one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. She is a speaker, racial justice and civil rights activist. She is the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPOWER Change. Sarsour has been at the forefront of major social justice campaigns both locally in New York City and nationally. She was also a co-chair of the Women's March on Washington. Sarsour was named among 500 of the most influential Muslims in the world. The ISNA excellence in interfaith award given to Rev Elizabeth Eaton from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
This year speaker were, Abdullah Idris, Jamillah Karim, , Linda Sarsour,Yasir Fahmy, Jasser Auda, Nadeem Siddiqui, Azhar Azeez, Zaid Shakir, Moon Khan, Dalia Mogahed, Jamal Badawi, Yasir Qadhi, Altaf Husain,Yaser Birjas ,Abdul Nasir Jangda, , Mehdi Hasan, Ingrid Mattson, Mohamed Magid, Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi, Jamillah Karim, Omar, Suleiman, ,Muzammil Siddiqi, Siraj Wahhaj, Hadia Mubarak and many other. This year record number of female was speaker and also record number of Interfaith & Community Alliances joined convention. The speakers from different academic and social backgrounds talked about the Hope and Guidance through the Qur'an in more than 100 sessions and events throughout the convention.
That seems to have been apparent at the 54Th annual conventions where many younger people were involved in running the event. They were very active in providing security, managing logistics, serving on the panels and directing the human traffic generally. It was pointed out that over 325 individuals had volunteered to see the convention through to its successful conclusion.
ISNA and its partner organizations provide many free health screenings and related information to all convention attendees
ISNA organizes huge bazaar at the Annual Convention with more than 550 booths. Participants sell, promote, and market their products and services to a large customer base. Because the Convention represents a broad spectrum of the Muslim community in America, this show also acts as a niche market for businesses. The Bazaar also provides an opportunity for businesses to communicate, understand, and cater to the needs of their customers. Free Health Fair provides various screenings and educational services. Also cultural activities, an Art Exhibit and even a basketball tournament
According to President ISNA Azhar Azeez "One of the Basic purposes of ISNA was to create a forum where ideas could be exchanged in an Islamic atmosphere. That goal has been meticulously followed during the course of the last four decades. An interest in Islamic learning blossomed on the American soil just as elsewhere around the globe. Through the activities of this body, and others, the Islamic spirit is surely being rekindled in North America."