World Bulletin / News Desk
First set up after the September 11 attacks, Muslims in America have come together for the 13. MAS-ICNA meeting in Chicago held at the McCormick Place convention centre, organised by MAS and ICNA and took place between 25-29 December. With Muslims attending from all corners of the globe, the event had activities, artistic performances, exhibitions, business meetings and a Quran reading contest and an exhibition.
The yearly meeting initially started with 500 attendees, with this years numbered at 15,000, and the main sponsor being the Turkish backed American Zakaat Foundation. The Foundation was founded by Halil Ibrahim Demir, and in a short time has achieved a strong backing and appreciation from the Muslim community in America. As them ost attended stand of the exhibition, it collected a sponsorship of 550 orphans in 15 minutes. Attendees collected $600 per child bringing the total sponsorship amount to $330,000. In a statement, Demir said, “After the twin tower attacks in NYC, this pushed Muslims to be more confident and united them to act as one and so at the end of 2001, they came together forming ICNA. After 9/11, even innocent muslims who were targeted just for their belief felt the need to come together”.
With the fair bringing Muslims from different cultures and backgrounds, it was the first time a Turkish-American organisation took part with the Turkish-American Will attending for the first time. Stating that they intended to participate at ICNA each year, the association officials said that, “We are part of the Muslim community in America. We must find common solutions to our shared problems. Here many of the Muslims were unaware of the Turkish-Armenian dispute and we have distributed brochures for them to be informed”.
With the slogan, “All for Turkey” adopted by the association, they believe they will attract other Turkish organisations to the fair hoping to strengthen the community.
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