North American Muslims will be gathering in Chicago this coming Labor Day weekend for the 53rd the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) annual convention, discussing issues facing millions of Muslims amidst the challenging political times.
“ISNA’s annual convention isn’t merely about bringing together the Muslim community,” Azhar Azeez, ISNA President, told AboutIslam.net.
“In the face of issues like Islamophobia, our goal is also to unite people across different faiths and backgrounds in the spirit of peace and better understanding.”
“We live in challenging times,” said Azeez. “By showcasing a diverse array of voices, stories and viewpoints, we hope to continue shaping a new narrative around what it means to be a mainstream Muslim today.”
“The good news is that Muslims are now defining their own narrative more than ever,” added Hazem Bata, Secretary General of ISNA.
“They have now established their own institutions and organizations and they have matured over the last 50 to 60 years, so we are now more empowered to address the Islamophobia.”
The three-day convention themed, “Turning Points: Navigating Challenges, Seizing Opportunities,” will bring together both Muslim and interfaith individuals, families, businesses and non-profit organizations for a full schedule of lectures, discussions, debates and entertainment.
With attendance estimated at 15,000 people, the ISNA Convention is one of the largest Muslim gatherings in the United States and Canada, where Muslims and guests from other faith communities have a platform to network, exchange ideas and listen to renowned speakers.
ISNA has invited a diverse list of speakers, scholars, community leaders, and public servants.
Complementing the main ISNA offering of programs, there are parallel conferences being hosted by the Muslim Students Association of the US & Canada (MSA National) and the Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA).
The Convention will also feature a bazaar with hundreds of vendors, an entrepreneurial showcase, art exhibition, film festival, basketball tournament fashion show and more.
The convention will be Donald E. Stephens Convention Center is located in Rosemont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
The Muslim community, estimated at over 400,000 in the greater Chicago area, is one of the most diverse in the country and has been integral to the success of the ISNA conventions.
Estimates put the Muslim population in the US at between five and eight million.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the largest and oldest Islamic umbrella organization in North America with a stated mission, “to foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and better understanding of Islam.”
ISNA’s 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.