The Bureau of Indigenous Muslim Affairs (BIMA) began by hosting a Jumah prayer service in Marshall Park yesterday afternoon. Jumah is another word for the high Islamic prayers that are regularly offered up on Fridays.
While the organization had stated that they anticipated 20,000 to attend the events over the weekend, they were disappointed that approximately 300 Muslims showed up for Jumah. Some sat on rugs, some in outdoor folding chairs and others simply on the grass as they turned toward Mecca, which is said to be Islam’s most reverenced city. Imam Buraj Wahhaj officiated the service.
A number of Christians also attended the event — not to pray, but to witness to the Muslims that were arriving for the weekend. Some held signs that read “Jesus is the Way” and “Islam is a Lie,” and others played worship music on the outskirts of the park.
One of the Christians that came to witness to Muslims at the event was Flip Benham, president of Operation Save America.
“We’re glad [the Muslims are] here,” Benham told the Charlotte Observer. “If the devil is going to throw a party, it’s imperative that the church of Jesus Christ show up.”
As previously reported, Benham’s son David is leading an effort in Charlotte this Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, where Christians from across the nation will be gathering to repent of their sins as the Church. The event is called Charlotte 714.
“The most important thing for us to remember is judgment begins in the house of God. If God is going to heal this land, He’s got to first heal His people,” David Benham stated. “The Church, according to 1 Timothy chapter 3, is both the pillar and support of the truth. If truth has stumbled in the streets, it’s because its pillar and support has fallen.”
Benham advised that the event is not a political protest, but is rather “a forum for the city Church to come together in Jesus’ name to return to our First Love, and to cry out in repentance and faith for the city we love.”
The events hosted this weekend by the Bureau of Indigenous Muslim Affairs are more political in nature, however. Organizers state that they wish to express concerns regarding laws that affect Muslims, such as the Patriot Act, which increased anti-terrorism surveillance, zoning laws that restrict the construction of new mosques, and the increasing passage of state laws that prohibit the usage of the Koran by the courts or legislative chambers. Overall, the group seeks to fight what they call “Islamophobia” in America.
“One of the reasons for pulling folks together is to stay focused,” explained Jibril Hough, one of the event’s organizers. “A lot of our issues that we are going to be bringing up will not be discussed by RNC or DNC. Both parties have supported deals that are eroding our civil liberties.”
“We must make the Constitution work for all Americans. We’re not asking for anything more or anything less,” he added.
The events include a Islamic banquet, a leadership conference and a “Color Me Muslim Cultural Fan Fest.” A number of Muslim musicians are expected to perform, and special speakers will be delivering messages. The events are scheduled to run through the end of the day today.
BIMA states that it is non-partisan in that the weekend gathering does not endorse any particular political candidate.