ISNA Conference in Cincinnati Promotes Community Togetherness
(Plainfield, IN 11/25/14) This past weekend, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) organized its ISNA Conference in Cincinnati at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati (ICGC) in West Chester, Ohio. The theme of the conference was “The Prophetic Message: Vision for our Community.”
“Islam is a communal religion, it’s not just about your relationship with God, it’s about you’re relationship with everybody else. We cannot worship God alone, we’re meant to do it with others” explained ISNA Secretary General Hazem Bata as he sets the stage in the opening session for ISNA’s 4th annual regional conference in Cincinnati. “[Islam] tells us how to live in community and how to live in harmony,” continued Bata. “In order to live in community and to live in harmony, it’s critical to focus on individual development in addition to being engaged in community service and development. In order to strengthen our relationships, we have to first strive to live our life in accordance to the Prophetic tradition.”
During the 3-day conference Imam Suhaib Webb, Dr. Ihsan Bagby, Dr. Altaf Hussain, Kia Jaheed, and Habeeb Qadri along with local leaders provided great insights and practical steps for individual development, communal development, and how the two aspects work together to form the Prophetic vision. Additionally, ICGC President Shakila Ahmed shared successful programs and achievements of the Cincinnati community addressing the needs of the community and how these can be replicated in other communities.
Ustadh Ubaydullah Evans, the Saturday night banquet dinner’s keynote speaker, explained the relevance of the Prophetic message to the American Muslim community. Ustadh Evans explained there are four relationships we need to work – the relationship between older and younger members of the community, the relationship between men and women, the relationship between convert, indigenous, and immigrant communities, and the relationship with the greater community.
“We have to be the moral conscious of the community and witness to humanity,” Ustadh Evans concluded.
Throughout the conference, key individuals were honored for their leadership and for being role models who truly exemplified the Prophetic vision. Imam AbdelGhader, ICGC Imam, lead conference attendees in a touching prayer for the late Tayyibah Taylor, founder of Azizah magazine and community leader, during the opening session of the conference. ISNA President Azhar Azeez honored Dr. Sardar Tanveer and Dr. Nemat Moussavian for their leadership in the Cincinnati community during the Saturday night banquet dinner. ISNA Secretary General Hazem Bata honored the late Abdul Rahman (Peter) Kassig, an aid worker who worked in Syria, and the late Babar and Haris Suleman, a father-son team who embarked on a trip around the world for the cause of education, for their selflessness during his session title “Making Every Second Count”.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the largest and oldest Islamic umbrella organization in North America. Its mission is to foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and better understanding of Islam.