Conference on identity

Conference on identity
Muslim Council of America Meets For Brain Storming Meeting In Chicago
(SE) Chris Ryan July 03, 2011
Muslim Council of America (MCA) held a brain storming meeting, which was attended by many opinion leaders, intellectuals and scholars. President of MCA, Dr Akhtar challenged the participants with following question to get them start thinking about discussion on proposed agenda:

• WHAT ARE MOST UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOURS WHICH MAKE MUSLIMS SHY AWAY FROM BECOMING A WHOLEHEARTED PARTICIPATING ACTIVE INDIVIDUAL IN THE AMERICAN SOCIETY?

• HOW DO THE MUSLIMS BECOME MORE INCLUSIVE IN SOCIETY WHEN THERE IS CONSTANT DOUBTS BEING SHED ON THEIR LOYALTY AND PATRIOTISM BECAUSE OF INDIVIDUAL SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES COLLECTIVELY PUT UNDER THE TERM “TERRORISM” BY SOME?

The pre-meeting discussion hence set up the agenda of meeting as follows:
1. To strategize how to inculcate amongst Muslims to think from Americans point of view while thinking about the significant activities happening in the world, be that political like Arab Spring or catastrophic like tsunami and other such International events.
2. To find ways and means to get the religious scholars on board to understand as to how Qura’nic messages may be interpreted more flexibly in the modern time with background of scientific innovations and new contexts.
This very important meeting was coordinated with the 48th convention of Islamic Society of North America’s (ISNA), which is being held from July 1st to 4th at the Stephens Convention Center at Rosemont in Chicago. This convention is being attended by thousands of Muslims to deliberate on many such topics.

The MCA meeting was attended by the following:
• Dr. Shamoon Ahmed, Oncologist from Las Vegas, Nevada, also trustee of the Islamic Society of Nevada.
• Dr. Javeed Akhter, MD, author of many articles on Islam and Muslims contributed to The Chicago Tribune.
• Prof. Zainab Alwani, Ph. D., Prof. at Community college, Washington D.C, teaching Quran and Islam and member of the Fiqha Council of ISNA.
• Dr. Barkat Charania, Orthopedic Surgeon, author, Aga Khan Development Network volunteer and past consultant to WHO and UNICEF, from Houston TX.
• Prof. Inamul Haq, Ph. D., Prof. of Islam at Elmhurst College IL, Hon. Imam in mosques in Chicago, and commentator at PBS and with Chicago Tribune.
• Khalid Khan, Founder and president of Islamic Society of Nevada for 25 years.
• Prof. Ameenah McCloud, Prof. of Islamic Studies at DePaul University, Chicago, Participant with Bill Maher on TV and with Chicago Tribune. Author of articles and books on African American Islam and Immigrant American Islam.
• Kamran Memon, Practicing attorney of civil rights in Chicago, member of the Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
• Prof. Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Prof of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Wales, author of Astronomical calculations & Ramadhan; a fiqhi discourse.
• Haroon Shaikh, CPA, Muslim activist and Chairman of the Board Central Bancorp, Inc, Houston TX.
• Prof. Yameen Zubairi, Prof. Univ. of Wisconsin, Author of many scientific and Islamic articles
.
Renowned Guest speakers were as follows:
1. Prof John Esposito, Prof. of Islamic Studies, Georgetown University, Washington DC. He emphasized the need of ensuring the meaning of Shariah Laws known to general public to remove the fear and misunderstandings about such laws.
2. Prof. Tariq Ramdan is Prof of Islam at Oxford University UK. He is also a well known Muslim leader in Europe and the US. He was named by Time magazine as one of the hindered most innovative persons in the world. He spoke about the need of being a part of narrative in history instead being an outsider. This ensures correct representation of Muslims. It also avoids misunderstandings about issues not understood while the narrative is being written and then read in future.
3. Prof Ameenah McCloud spoke about the identity of African American Muslims, which has been maintained despite their subjugation in slavery for many decades. Her message was also to ensure the involvement of the Muslims in the main stream issues and avoid a ghetto mentality amongst recent immigrants in USA.
4. Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui, Ph. D, Harvard University was also one of guest speaker. He is former President of ISNA and of Fiqha Council of North America.
5. Prof Mohammad Akhtar, president of MCA spoke about researching into possible flexibility in interpretation of Quran and Sunnah in the light of present scientific knowledge and innovation. He also stressed on the necessity of doing this as soon as possible so that new generation Muslims can benefit from the modern elucidations and explanations of the theological issues.

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