BALTIMORE – The 42nd Annual ICNA Convention, one of the largest and most diverse Islamic conventions in North America, kicked off in Baltimore on Saturday, April 15, to discuss the problems facing US Muslims and refugees in today’s America.
“We’re bringing like-minded people together to celebrate our religion and do good,” Haris Qudsi, outreach coordinator for ICNA Relief, a charitable nonprofit arm of the organization, told The Baltimore Sun.
The convention is the third for the group at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Qudsi said Baltimore is an ideal location, given the active Muslim community in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia region and the city’s easy accessibility from other states.
Several convention sessions, including “Combating Islamophobia,” “Asserting Your Rights Under Trump Presidency” and “Working through Challenging Times,” address concern spreading through the community given a spike in hate crimes against Muslims and the Trump administration’s moves to block refugees from Muslim-majority countries.
The opening message from the ICNA president, Javaid Siddiqi, read: “This year we are meeting in the midst of new political climate that has invigorated renewed interest of political and social activism within the American Muslim community.”
ICNA is one of the largest, non-profit, grassroots Muslim organizations in North America with many projects, programs, and activities designed to help in reforming society at large.
Since 1968, ICNA has worked to build relations between communities by devoting itself to education, outreach, social services and relief efforts.