Editorial: Muslim Americans Must Reach Out with Their Faith

ISNA Convention 2019

By Omer Bin Abdullah

September/October 2022

Some of our readers may have this issue in their hands before the 59th annual ISNA convention; others may pick it up at the convention.

We wish the best to our attendees, both the regulars and the new ones. The regulars will of course savor the moments of meeting each other after the Covid-enforced break. The new attendees will reach out, make new friends and share their experiences. Many such experiences have led to rise of projects that are contributing to fellow Muslims and others both here and abroad.

In this issue, Professor Muqtedar Khan offers a Quran-based discission of this year’s theme: hope, resilience and faith, drawn from 94:5-6. Drawing attention to a world of strife and suffering, he states, “This promise of God is a beacon of hope that comforts the suffering, strengthens our resilience and resolve, makes us bear the ordeal with greater patience and empowers us to work harder to make things better.”

The iconic Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) is marking 30 years of community service and strengthening the bonds of kinship that surpass all assumed boundaries. It has an enviable record of partnering with ISNA in its annual conventions — a tradition that its members are carrying out this year.

Islamic Horizons salutes the founders and those who are carrying their bouquet of kinship forward and higher. Area high schooler Rabiyah Syed, a young writer who Islamic Horizons is helping to develop, proudly related this journey. 

Misbahuddin Mirza and Rasheed Rabbi introduce us to the dynamic and rising Bangladeshi community, whose members are actively providing needed care to their fellow citizens in a variety of ways. Several of them have entered public service, and a few have even attained senior government positions. 

Such developments are another way of sending a loud and clear message to Islamophobes that Muslims aren’t a threat to this country.

Islamic Horizons admits that it has overlooked a very important segment of the North American Muslim community — Francophone Muslims, who are concentrated primarily in Quebec, Canada. We appreciate the initiative taken by Zainab Survery to begin filling in this gap. 

High schooler Reham Fahad, another young writer who Islamic Horizons is working with, talks to Monia Mazigh, a Muslim Tunisian Canadian academic, author and winner of the 2021 Ottawa Book Award for her French-language novel “Farida,” the story of a Tunisian woman’s struggle with her homeland’s patriarchal system.

We will continue to seek ways to further increase the representation of this usually neglected community.

Shaza Khan, Ph.D. (executive director, Islamic Schools League of America) writes that given the seemingly all-consuming focus on obstructing Covid-19’s spread, the time, energy and attention usually given to other crises may have taken a back seat. She reminds us that the Uvalde, Texas, massacre of May 24 brings to light the unfortunate reality that school administrators must remain aware of other potential crises that can occur on school premises.

Emin Poljarević, associate professor of the sociology of religion and systematic theology (Uppsala University, Sweden), discusses the significance of Quran burnings in that country. The Swedish law enforcement authorities enforce such ideologues’ freedom of expression laws and let these dastardly acts proceed. Interestingly, no other religious scriptures have met this fate. 

Professor Yasmeen Qadri and Omer Kazmi of Valencia College each highlight the need for campus outreach groups, for these locations provide fertile ground for maintaining one’s identity and, given that many such students are there to learn, sharing Islam with others.

Finally, we look forward to seeing all of you at the convention!

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