The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Convention is the second largest Muslim event in the nation, and has been conducted annually for the past 37 years. This year’s theme is entitled “Defending Religious Freedom; Understanding Sharia,” and is sponsored by the Muslim American Society.
Organizers of the event say that the “educational initiative” is needed to eradicate any ill-will against Muslims in the country, especially after several states have passed measures banning the use of foreign laws in the courts and in the crafting of legislation.
“It’s a deep-down hatred of Muslims that motivates. They don’t want to see Muslims in America,” Naeem Baig, vice president of public affairs, stated. “Muslims need to be educated about Sharia. There’s a need for the community to better understand what Sharia means to us, and how to apply Sharia in a society where most people are not of the same faith.”
While the event is geared toward families in that it includes children’s activities, as well as musical entertainment and even a stand-up comedian, it also is set to feature a number of very solemn workshop topics. Sessions include: “Islamophobia: How to Respond and Educate the Masses,” “Anti-Islamic Bigotry: Un-American and Socially Unacceptable” and “Misconceptions Surrounding the Penal Code in Sharia.”
Additionally, workshops will discuss ways that the Islamic religion can further permeate American culture, including through Muslim chaplain services being offered on college campuses, as well as in prisons and hospitals. A seminar is also scheduled to outline America’s purported Muslim heritage, which was derived from Islamic African-American slaves that were imported into the nation.
The group’s member hand book outlines the goals of ICNA:
“With this work of propagation of Islam, social reform, and the truth is introduced to a large part of the society. A good part of the society’s thinking individuals join the movement. Then it may move to establish an Islamic society, obedient to Allah’s commands,” it says.
The group also explained that its mission is to “initiate change in the social and political spheres [of American society] in light of the principles of the noble Qur’an.”
Earlier this month, legislators in the state of Kansas passed a bill prohibiting courts and other government officials from using Sharia law to make legal decisions. Arizona, Missouri, South Dakota and Tennessee also have laws on the books banning Sharia, and six other states are in the works of passing similar legislation. Legislators in Oklahoma had done likewise, but the law was struck down by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals as being unconstitutional.