By Abdirizak M. Diis
Sunday September 10, 2023
The Islamic Association of North America hosted a significant conference that drew attendees from various segments of society. This conference took place at the Minneapolis Conference Center on September 3rd, 2023, with the overarching theme of "Preserving Muslim Families in America." This theme resonated with many Muslim families who have been increasingly concerned about their children's education and the preservation of their values and faith. Moreover, youth delinquency, rising opioid crises, mental health issues, and family disintegration were some of the major issues the community is facing, and hence the conference was addressing.
"The objective of this conference," stated Sheikh Yussuf Abdulle, the event’s chief organizer and the executive director of the Islamic Association of North America, "is to guide individuals on how to live in America without compromising one’s faith, creed, values, and traditions."
The conference drew an impressive crowd of attendees hailing from Minnesota and the surrounding states. As the host organization, the Islamic Association of North America (IANA) meticulously curated engaging programs and content designed for youth and families. The conference aimed to tackle various issues within the community, spanning religious, educational, health, and social domains. Speakers emphasized the importance of Muslims expressing their identities and beliefs confidently and openly. Jasim, one of the event's organizers, aptly remarked, "America thrives on diversity, and no single culture, perspective, or ideology should be considered superior."
Attendees of the conference praised the quality of programs and expressed their gratitude. "I have attended numerous religious gatherings, but this one stood out. The sheiks addressed pressing issues such as gender, marriage, halal business, and mortgages, among other contemporary topics," noted one of the conference participants. Abdi Hassan shared his insights: "I gained a profound understanding of wealth—how to acquire and spend it."
The conference program encompassed a broad spectrum of topics, including " Education in Islam" "The Quran in light of Muslim families "Halal Business," “The proper use of Social Media” "Understanding Autism in our Families” "Identity," “Muslim Family Values” among other topics that are relevant to Muslims living in the west. These lectures were delivered in English and Somali by distinguished Sheikhs and Ulama, both male and female, from North America. The standout feature of the event was the presence of young speakers who intimately understood the challenges faced by youth in America.
This conference was particularly captivating due to its diverse program offerings, which departed from the traditional focus on spiritual lectures to address pressing contemporary issues. The conference organizers deliberately tailored programs to meet the health, social and spiritual needs of the Muslim community in North America. "Muslims living in North America, especially the youth, encounter obstacles and challenges distinct from those in Muslim-majority countries. Hence, we organized this conference to engage the youth, address their needs, and alleviate their concerns," remarked Sheikh Mohamed Mursal, IANA board Chair who opened and closed the event officially.
One of the convention's highlights was an exhilarating basketball tournament in which ten teams participated. The winning team was duly rewarded with a trophy.
The conference concluded at 10:30 PM Central Time in the United States with Quran recitations by students from the organization's centers. Ultimately, the Ulama offered supplications to the Almighty Allah, wishing the Muslim community the highest levels of Iman and conviction.