By God’s Grace, the “1st Iowa Muslims Convention” has been successfully concluded through the collaboration of Justice and Spirituality Publishing (JSP) and the Iowa Chapter of the Muslim Students Association of the USA and Canada. The convention theme was: “Impact of Islam and Muslims in America, Unity, Growth, Vision, and our Role for the Future.” It was held at the University of Iowa on March 30, 31st, April 1st.
The convention was a historical opportunity for hundreds of Muslims in the state of Iowa to strengthen their faith and bond under one family; Iowan Muslims are part of an estimated 7 to 10 million Muslims in the U.S. It was a distinguished occasion for Iowan Muslims to combine their efforts in a spirit of togetherness and unity. They were able to make noticeable steps towards putting their faith into practice and have a significantly positive impact in America by helping their state and so their country face the challenges of moral decadence.
The successful participation and cooperation of the different Muslim Students Associations of the state of Iowa along with Justice & Spirituality Publishing was clear proof of how much promise the Muslim worldwide community (Muslim Ummah) has in its young generation. The convention was yet another strong sign that Islam is coming back to establish justice worldwide and guide people to worship their Creator the Most Gracious.
The participation of non-Muslims was a reminder of the Hadith (from Bukhari) in which God’s Messenger, Muhammad (grace and peace on him!) said: “Every newborn comes into the world endowed with an innate sense (fitrah). It is his father and mother who (by their educating influence) make a Jew, a Christian, or a Zoroastrian of him.” The non-Muslims attendance proved that their pure innate nature (fitrah) was driving them to search for the Truth and welcome the Message of their Lord the Almighty. That lead two American people to revert to Islam: one teenager during the convention and a local university student who declared her faith shortly after the event. It was really the biggest blessing from “God” to the convention; Praise be to Him the Almighty.
In the keynote address Scholar Abdessalam Yassine pointed out that people in the Justice and Spirituality Association “demand justice for all people and peace worldwide because justice and peace are part of the Islamic message”. “In this gathering of ours Scholar Yassine adds, our talk should be profound; our message should be addressed to the people from the fact they are individual human beings. Before talking to them about the events of this worldly life we should inform them about the Great News as delivered in the Honorable Qur’an.” This Great News is given in the Qur’an in Surah An-Naba (The News) by “God” the Almighty to people. It is the absolute fact that “the Day of Judgment is an appointed time” (verse 17) and it will be either Paradise or Hellfire. Therefore, people should believe in it, ponder on their fate after death and prepare for it.
The US government participation in this historical event was by Congressman Jim Leach and Senator Tom Harkin. Congressman Leach delivered his speech at the convention where he advised the Muslims to get involved in the American political process if they want their voices to be heard in the government. He said: “The Muslim view is not well-reflected in American government. One way to participate is by voting. Another is by joining a political party. But if people exclude or self-exclude themselves from government, they are less likely to have their voice heard.” In his letter to the convention senator Harkin stated: “Today I am honored to commend each of you [American Muslims] for your contributions to the moral and spiritual fabric of our nation. Religious traditions like yours strengthen our families, energize our communities and make our state a wonderful place to live.”
Multiple media outlets (TV channels, UI Radio station, and newspapers) covered the event. This media coverage helped in spreading the true image of Islam, a Message of peace, guidance and justice. As a learning experience, Muslims recognized more the importance of being proactive in inviting people to the Call of their Lord the Almighty, taking advantage of the fact that in America there is a relatively greater freedom to spread Islam without the kind of threatening and abuse by governments in predominantly Muslim countries.
It is noteworthy that a special emphasis was given to the important role of the Muslim woman in spreading Islam in America. The convention executive committee had a significant number of Muslim women who proved to play this important role and that by itself contributed to the success of the convention. The convention program included also diversified activities including speeches by distinguished speakers, workshops for both Muslims and non-Muslims, prayer on time and in congregation, Qur’an reading, a trip to the Mother Mosque of America, an exhibition bazaar, etc…
An important part of the convention message was to present the Islamic position and rectify its distorted image. The convention began with prayer and ended also with prayer stressing the significant importance of prayer in strengthening the bond with our Lord the Almighty without Whom there is no Success whether in this worldly life or in the Hereafter.
Hundreds of people, both Muslims and non-Muslims from different US states and from overseas attended the convention. Overall they were all satisfied and are looking forward to attend the 2nd convention -God willing- next year.
All praise is due to “God” the Exalted.
Sr. Aminah Assilmi
An Emmy award winning radio show producer, Aminah embraced Islam over twenty years ago and has since spoken to a variety of audiences throughout America about the faith of Islam and related social issues. Her heart-warming and thought provoking lectures have helped many understand, appreciate, and implement the teachings of Islam. (alhamdulillah).
Sh. Hassan Lechhab
A scholar from New York, Sh. Lechheb graduated from Dar al-Hadith al-Hassaniya (Morocco). He is a distinguished speaker and a person of knowledge and action. His loving and wise way of preaching has assisted many Muslims to improve their faith and rectify their deeds, alhumduillah.
Dr. Rasha Al-Disuqi
A West Coast based author, researcher and lecturer, Dr. Al-Disqui has a Ph. D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Wales, U.K. She has lectured extensively in the USA & Canada, and has attended the Beijing Conference in China, Habitat in Istanbul, and many others. She believes in the total empowerment of Muslim women in American society, in implementing the Islamic model, in having political representation to express political opinion on internal and foreign affairs, and having Muslim women in Congress.
Dr. Amir Ali
A graduate of the University of Iowa, Dr. Ali now resides in Chicago. He has committed his life to taking the message of Islam to the American people through the Institute of Islamic Information and Education (www.iiie.net). III & E has published over 50 brochures, over 200 articles, a few booklets. Over six million copies of the material has been distributed affecting the thinking of over 20 million people. At least 40,000 from them have entered Islam, alhamdulillah.
Dr. Jeffrey Lang
Jeff Lang, a professor of Mathematics at the University of Kansas, has written two books on Islam in America, “Struggling to Surrender” and “Even Angels Ask”, and his currently writing a third. He embraced Islam in 1982, a year after receiving his Ph.D. from Purdue University. He is married and has three daughters, ages 12, 14, and 15.
Br. Aman Aminzay
Currently a medical student at the University of Iowa, Br. Aman received his undergraduate degree in Religious Studies. He is one of the most active young du’at in this state and has been invited to present Islam to numerous non-Muslim audiences in Iowa.
Br. Imad Benjelloun
Chairman and Imam of the Islamic Center of Quad Cities, Imad Benjelloun is also the CEO and Chairman of Justice & Spirituality Publishing (JSP). He is trying by co-organizing this historical event -the 1st Iowa Muslims Convention- to launch a series of annual conventions that will outline a well designed plan for an effective impact of Islam and Muslims in the state of Iowa and America.
Br. Ahmed Elkaldy
The leader of the Cedar Rapids Islamic Center, Br. Ahmed is greatly respected by this largest and most organized Muslim community in Iowa. He is an inspiring speaker and gives numerous talks, many on leadership of Muslims in America.
Br. Taha Tawil
Leader of the Mother Mosque of America, Dr. Tawil is also the Chairman of the Islamic Council of Iowa. He is one of the most active Muslims in this state and has been for numerous years.