The Annual Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Convention–the largest gathering of Muslims in North America–punctuates the calendar of many Muslim individuals, families and organizations; IMAN is no exception. As IMAN’s model of civic engagement has garnered national attention and as ISNA has funded some of our on-the-ground projects in Chicago, such as the first Green Reentry house, the two organizations have been supporting each other in many different ways. For IMAN, this has meant having a visible presence at the Annual ISNA Convention in the last few years.
This year was no different. Six members of IMAN’s staff traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the recent convention over the Labor Day weekend, titled “One Nation Under God, Striving for the Common Good.” The visible presence of tens of thousands Muslims in the nation’s capital, two months before a big election, seemed to say that Muslims are ready to assert their place in American society, because Muslims are ready to strive for the common good. At IMAN, we believe that our mission and work can be one of the models for the American Muslim community in this striving.
In particular, the IMAN delegation was there to represent our work, support ISNA, and connect with the convention attendees and speakers (though meeting old friends, and shopping, is inevitable at any ISNA convention!) It was also the first major opportunity to start getting the word out for Streets 2013, now less than a year away.
Medical Director, Dr. Altaf Kaiseruddin, represented IMAN on the panel at one of the healthcare-related sessions, and presented on the model and work of the Health Clinic. As we covered many of the sessions over the weekend, it was gratifying to see how many of IMAN alumni and supporters, scholars and activists alike, were featured prominently on panels covering leading-edge social and civic issues in the Muslim and/or broader communities.
ISNA is perhaps the most important organization representing Muslims in North America; it has reach, weight and connections. Our participation in the 49th Annual ISNA Convention continued the process of investing in our relationship with ISNA and its community, in an effort to ensure that both our organizations can be the best they can be.