Highlights of the ICNA-MAS 2016 Annual Convention in Baltimore, MD.
The ICNA-MAS annual convention is one of the largest gatherings of American Muslims in the U.S. This is the forth consecutive year it has been held in Baltimore. It was attended by over 21,000 Muslims. It featured many top scholars and activists, in addition to many special events like 1000 Meals Distribution in Downtown Baltimore, 750 Mercy Bags distribution to senior homes and Street dawah at Inner Harbor.
ICNA Council for Social Justice (CSJ) is a social justice/human rights organization that strives to systematically facilitate assertive Muslim involvement in the field of human struggle for the rights of the poor and oppressed in the United States. We are told in the Qur’an:
“Oh you who believe! Be standard bearers for Justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, Or your kin, whether it be rich or poor; For Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts, lest you Swerve, and if you Distort Justice or decline To do Justice, verily Allah is well-Acquainted with all that you do.” [Qur’an 4:135]
“We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice.” [Qur’an 57:25]
Established by the Islamic Circle of North America, CSJ enters the social justice/human rights arena in America to cooperate with existing social justice efforts, and organize new initiatives when appropriate, to eliminate barriers to full citizenship rights and privileges, work to restore civil liberties required for a democratic society, and raise public awareness and work to remove the gross inequities of the US criminal justice system. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us:
“Whoever among you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; if he cannot, then with his tongue; if he cannot, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of Faith.” [Reported by An-Nasa’i]
The mission of all of the Prophets, including the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), was to elevate human existence and establish unparalleled just societies through submission to the Creator.
“And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.” [Qur’an 5:2]