Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Leadership Visits Sacramento
By Ras H. Siddiqui
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Sacramento Chapter held a dinner meeting at the Haveli Restaurant in Sacramento, California on Saturday, February 25th to give an opportunity to the local Muslim community to meet and interact with members of the national leadership of the organization.
ICNA-Sacramento has been very active over the past few years, keeping the local community involved in a host of projects including WhyIslam which invites the wider American community to find out more about Islam via billboards, literature and even by just talking to people who call in. ICNA is heavily involved in education, social services, youth, women’s issues (including domestic violence shelters) and charitable causes (Helping Hand and ICNA Relief) to name a few. Readers are encouraged to visit their website http://www.icna.org/ if they wish to learn more.
After a brief introduction by the event emcee a young kid from the community performed the customary Qur’anic recitation. And to follow, in what has to be a rare request, everyone present was asked to introduce themselves and also add what was unique about them. Since there were quite a few people in the room, this took a while and also proved to be quite interesting. We had the Imams of several area Mosques, golfers, fans of the Sacramento Kings basketball team, physicians, educators and social services providers to name a few.
ICNA’s newly elected President Javaid Siddiqi was very much present and took the opportunity to address the gathering. He said that he was very honored and grateful to be here tonight and thanked the Sacramento community Muslim leadership for coming out and giving him the opportunity to meet them. He added that this was his first visit to Sacramento, and that he was really impressed (MA) because of the initiatives that the community has taken, which all need to be appreciated for the vision and the leadership provided to Muslims in the area, with many organizations coming together and working closely.
Siddiqi elaborated further on what ICNA is and what it stands for (for those who may not know or may be familiar with only a couple of their programs). He briefly explained ICNA’s vison and mission. Adherence to the guidelines provided to us in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah in our lives being one. Tawhid, Risalah and, Akhirah were some of the concepts discussed as a source of guidance. He said that these should motivate you, and make you an active member of and a contributor to the society that you live in. He said that we need to see ICNA as an organization that is complimentary to several aspects of our teachings, Dawah (inviting others to Islam), social services and relief - Helping Hand (international relief - for Umma) and ICNA Relief (a domestic arm) that provides shelters to women and children, local food pantry’s etc.
In the past years ICNA has also set up a mechanism to bring up issues of social justice such as standing up to racism, issues of labor and wages (minimum and living wage) and issues of poverty, said Javaid. Everyone has to speak up on those issues and ICNA has added its voice, said the ICNA President. He said that all the programs provided by the organization are structured in such a way as to be suitable to all, to children (MCNA), for juniors/teenagers and programs for young Muslims, including a very strong program for sisters (ICNA Sisters) all of which are geared towards enhancing dialog.
He also requested the ICNA- Sacramento chapter to reach out to the wider community and invite them to join ICNA. After his speech, Siddiqi took the opportunity to answer several questions from the audience and addressed their concerns. A spicy Haveli Restaurant dinner followed and the event closed after Isha prayers.