Chicago, 19 Dhulqo’dah 1436/3 September 2015 (MINA) – Thousands of Muslims from across the US will gather in Chicago this weekend to attend the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) 52nd Annual Convention, OnIslam reported.

The four-day event will discuss ways of strengthening the Muslim presence in America.

Kicking off on Friday at Chicago’s Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, the convention is one of the biggest Islamic gatherings in North America, International Islamic News Agency (IINA) quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

Government and interfaith leaders, as well as heads of organizations will address the convention’s inaugural session on Friday.

A highlight on the opening day will be the launch of a campaign calling for inclusive, women-friendly mosques across North America.

“This year’s theme is ‘Stories of Resilience, Strengthening the American Muslim Narrative’ and will showcase stories of unsung heroes in our community as well as success stories of families, masjids and community initiatives,” said ISNA in a statement.

The campaign’s goal is to realize the Prophetic model and calls upon all mosques to ensure women are welcomed as an integral part of the masjid and encouraged to attend, reads the statement prepared by ISNA’s Task Force for Women-Friendly Masjids.

The campaign will also call for “Women to have a prayer space in the main musalla (prayer hall) which is behind the lines of men but not behind a full barrier that disconnects women from the main musalla and prevents them from seeing the imam.”

An Islamic film festival, an art and photography exhibit, a National Qira’at competition, a matrimonial banquet, a women’s fashion show, meet the author sessions and health fair will be held.

There will also be a bazaar and trade show with 500 vendors.

Parallel conferences will also be held by the ISNA affiliated organizations – the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA), Association of Muslim Scientists, Engineers and Technology Professionals (AMSET), Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA).

A new initiative added at this year’s convention is the introduction of community roundtable discussions. “There will be 6 different Roundtable Discussions ranging in topics which are relevant to the Muslim community,” noted the convention organizers.

Each session will be moderated by a professional facilitator, including experts and local authorities.
ISNA is the largest Muslim umbrella organization in North America.

ISNA’s four-day annual convention dates back to 1963, when the first such event was organized by the predecessor to ISNA, the Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada.

Over the years, the convention has increased in popularity and consistently draws crowds of up to 40,000 Muslims in attendance each year. (T/Imt/R03)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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