Islamic Center of Naperville hosts 'Muslims around the World' at Al-Falah Academy

  • Attendees at the fifth annual "Muslims around the World" event explore the diverse cultures in countries where Muslims reside.

    Attendees at the fifth annual "Muslims around the World" event explore the diverse cultures in countries where Muslims reside. Courtesy of Syed Khalil Ullah

Updated 12/20/2021 7:17 PM

Over 350 people attended the fifth annual "Muslims around the World" event, hosted by Islamic Center of Naperville's weekend school, Al-Falah Academy, on Dec. 18.

Students from Al-Falah academy represented several countries, showcasing the unique cultures within the religion, Islam. The trifolds at each booth reflected student research and artifacts, ethnic outfits along with culinary samples which were contributions from community families.


Guests were encouraged to attend and immerse themselves into an exploration of the diverse cultures in countries where Muslims reside. India, Pakistan Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Iraq, and the United States were represented at the booths.

Congressmen Bill Foster and Sean Casten; state Sen. Laura Ellman; state Rep. Janet Yang Rohr; District 204 board members Laurie Donahue, Sapna Jain and Natasha Grover; Naperville City Council members Ian Holzhauer, Jennifer Taylor, Pat Kelly, Paul Leong; and DuPage County Board members Sadia Covert and Dawn DeSart; and other officials also attended the event.

Alzena Saleem, principal of Al-Falah Academy, said, "Five years ago, this started off as an event for the students, mainly to showcase for the students the differences between their peers. We are all Muslims, but it was an opportunity for them to see that we have diversity amongst ourselves. Now it is an opportunity, not just for our students and the Al-Falah community but also for the Naperville community as a whole."

Al-Falah Academy serves Naperville and its surrounding suburbs with a focus on religious education, character building & community service. Currently, 375 students attend this weekend academy from pre-kindergarten to ninth-grade levels.

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Many students and staff members were dressed in unique and colorful traditional attire, representing their respective countries. The mood in the venue was that of excitement and joy, as students and families proudly represented a blend of cultures across the globe, and within their local community.

"Diversity, as we know it, provides an advantage and has its benefits. The global Muslim community is blessed to be extremely diverse, and the purpose of the event is to highlight our diversity and celebrate it," said Naeem Hussaini, vice principal of the academy.

Attendees enjoyed interactions with the students and learning about interesting and intricate details of each culture. The event was well organized and memorable. The school hopes to continue this annual tradition next year.

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