Muslims Brave Rain to Make ICNA’s Family Day the Biggest Nationwide Event
Glimpses of the Muslim Family Day organized by ICNA
Los Angeles: The Islamic Circle of North America’s Muslim Family Day at the Six Flags Magic Mountain became an instant phenomenon in the Muslim community. On October 4th more than 8,300 people attended what became the largest Muslim event on the West Coast, along with 54,000 nationwide.
As the pleasant weather dispelled fears of rain, Muslim families from all ethnicities and age groups came from as far as Colorado, Nevada and Arizona. They enjoyed a premium choice of meals prepared per Islamic requirements including KFC, Indo-Pakistani and Middle Eastern cuisine, and an assortment of snacks and desserts.
The sold out bazaar provided families a unique and excellent opportunity to shop specialty items and browse Muslim services. One of the most exciting features of the Bazaar was the MFD raffle. Suhail Ahmed from Palmdale won a free ticket to a world destination of his choice in the raffle sponsored by a Muslim business.
Guests were entertained by Omar Regan, a popular stand-up comedian from Hollywood, and Islamic songs sung by Qari Youssef Edghouch.
Children were seen lining up to take pictures with their favorite Warner Brothers characters and enjoying the numerous rides for young patrons at the Bugs Bunny World. The amusement park, with its usual attractions and thrill rides, remained in operation until midnight. The Batman Begins stunt show was particularly popular.
Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, was called out within the main picnic area and announcements made throughout the park reminding Muslim guests of their prayer obligations during the fun-filled day. Special arrangements for prayers and ablution were made by the friendly Six Flags staff throughout the park. Although MFD was the first event organized on this scale, it went exceptionally smooth without any untoward incidences.
The previous day, a special presentation on Islam and Muslims was given to the entire Six Flags Magic Mountain staff, including the park president Jay Thomas. The session answered several key questions and proved extremely helpful for the staff in understanding the Muslim community and providing a congenial environment to the Muslim guests.
ICNA's outreach project, WhyIslam, set up a table for general guests. This table proved to be one of WhyIslam's busiest booths of the year with almost 500 copies of the Qur’an and several hundred brochures distributed.
An additional collaboration was through the dedicated website MuslimFamilyDay.com. After being reviewed by Six Flags and Warner Bros, the site was launched only three months before the event. Immediately, it received thousands of visitors and proved to be extremely useful. Over a quarter million dollars worth in ticket sales were facilitated through the website. Hundreds of volunteers and vendors from all over the nation used it for information and complete online forms.
Another first was the launch of the toll-free line 1-866-Dial-MFD. This nationwide toll-free line connected callers to their local city organizers in a professional and easy manner. Hundreds of callers from all over the nation were serviced through this line via a dedicated full time volunteer from Los Angeles.
With almost 60,000 guests, this event has become the largest nationwide Muslim event. $1.5 million worth of tickets were sold across the nation through nearly 130 outlets and individuals and approximately 500 volunteers signed up. The event was heavily promoted via five TV channels, several newspapers and over 100,000 flyers. Pictures by Keith Delaney.