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A R T I C L E - 3

 

THE SECOND UMAA CONVENTION 2004

The Universal Muslim Association of America (UMAA) is holding SECOND
Convention of the Shia Muslims living in the United States and Canada on May 28-30, 2004 at Wardman Park Marriott Hotel, 2660 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, DC, 20008. Please mark your calendar for this great event. 

Register NOW( at UMAA website www.umaamerica.org ) to become part of this important moment in history. 

The Theme of the UMAA Convention 2004  is:  

"UNITY  IN  DIVERSITY "

A great panel of distinguished Muslims as well as non-Muslims Thinkers,
Intellectuals, Social Scientists and Professionals will address the Convention on contemporary issues. There will also be a series of workshops and seminars on a variety of subjects of interest, for all ages.

Speakers Include:, Dr. Sayyed Husein Nasr, Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi, Imam Mohammed Elahi, Dr. Hasnain Walji, Amir Mohallati, Dr. Sayed Mustafa al-Qizwini, Sr. Najjah Bazi,  Dr. Robert Crane, Dr. Aziza al-Hibri, Abbas Mirakhor, Dr. Elias
Mallon,among others.

The Convention is an opportunity for the US media to take a closer look at Shia Muslims who have been misrepresented in news coverage in light of the geo-political events, particularly the Iraq war.

This Convention offers an ideal platform for the articulation and advancement of religious, social, economic as well as political agenda. Issues concerning youth will be addressed.

Special workshops will be held on different subjects, such as Career Planning, Spouse Selection, Personal Enhancement, Financial Planning, Conflict Resolution,  How to respond to Media, Islamic Art and Starting New Business.
There will be several interesting programs for the youth and young children.
A Matrimonial Service will be available to collect data and provide leads; it will be a great opportunity to get introduced to the other families.

UMAA CONVENTION 2004 COMMITTEE
(410) 584-7254
(646) 932-UMAA  (8622)                         
 info@umaamerica.org                                                      

Here is an overview of the First Convention (2003), including comments by indepenedent participants, for an insight into the First UMAA Convention:        
                                                   

THE FIRST UMAA CONVENTION, 2003
With between 2500 to 3000 American Shias a diverse gathering  of all shades and colors and backgrounds--from different states participating in the very first UMAA Convention, held at Grand Hyatt Regency Hotel at Washington DC on the
Memorial weekend ( May 23-25), it was an overwhelming experience.

 Here are some of the comments made by speakers/ participants of the First UMAA Convention:

" .... a phenomenal event, the first of its kind. "  Dr. Hasnain Walji, President, World Khoja Ithna Ashri Federation

 ".... the first Shia convention ever held ".    Syed Mazhar Jafri, Chicago

 ".....I had never seen some thing like this in the Shia world.--it is the first Shia Convention in the world. " Br. Partomeh, an Iraqi Kurd leader.
" .... it's the First Shai Convention. " Shaikh Hasham, Michigan

"..... it is the First Shia Convention "  Imam Hasan Qazwini, L.A.

"..... the UMAA convention had laid the foundation for support for Shia families that will help keep our youth within our value system; our youth will look forward to coming to the Convention every year. " Sr. Rukhsana Naqvi, New Jersey, a Director of MFI.
 
".....I was over-whelmed with the experience; I discovered old friends at the convention." Another  lady in the feed back session


"......I am impressed and will volunteer time to work for UMAA in the future. UMAA had filled a long-awaited need "
       Farrah Khan, a young lady from Chicago

"......I think the entire convention was an absolute success.
Everyone who was involved in setting up this convention did a excellent job. I was very impressed with the level of professional and intellectual environment surrounding this event. Secondly, I think the pragmatic and realistic approach taken in the content of the lectures and presentations will serve as excellent tools for the attendees to take back to their communities. I feel this was the most beneficial aspect that we can use to help strengthen our identity and maintain relationships among other shia communities.......I would like... to get involved in working with the UMAA organization in terms of planning and developing strategies in the forth comming months for next year's convention. " Syed Shakir Ali Rizvi, a young executive

A REPORT ON THE FIRST UMAA CONVENTION, 2003

UMAA Convention 2003
With between 2500 to 3000 American Shias a diverse gathering  of all shades and colors and backgrounds--from different states participating in the very first UMAA Convention, held at Grand Hyatt Regency Hotel at Washington DC on the
Memorial weekend ( May 23-25), it was an overwhelming experience.. To quote Dr. Hasnain Walji, President of World Khoja Ithna Ashri Federation, it was a phenomenal event, the first of its kind. Syed Mazhar Jafri of Chicago and many
other participants called it the first Shia convention ever held.

Br. Partomeh (an Iraqi Kurd leader) went further. He said that he had never seen some thing like this in the Shia world. He called it the first Shia Convention in the world. Imam Hasan Qazwini (L.A.) and Shaikh Hasham (MI) also called it the First Shia Convention. It was spectacular- a heart-moving experience indeed, to see the Shia families, parents and children-- young and old even babies, who had traveled from as far as Texas, California and Louisiana.  A brother had tears in his eyes while expressing his enthusiasm for being there and witnessing the happy and radiant faces of the participants. A volunteer broke
down in tears, when the Program Manager patted him on the back for the good work he and his colleagues were doing. Amanat Ali, the Security Chief, another volunteer from New York was speechless, with moist eyes when an organizer admired his tireless dedication.

Sister Rukhsana from New Jersey, a Director of the Muslim Foundation, New Jersey said the UMAA convention had laid the foundation for support for Shia families that will help keep our youth within our value system; our youth, she said,  will look forward to coming to the convention every year. Another lady who came to the podium during the feedback session at the conclusion of the convention said that she was over-whelmed with the experience and that she had discovered old friends at the convention.

Dr. Walji said that he met several old friends who he had not seen in years and had made new friends. Iqbal Naqvi (NJ) of UMAA and his wife were delighted to meet their one time neighbors, Dr. and Mrs Jamil Asghar Arastu (PA) after 13 years.  A young girl, Farrah Khan from Chicago said that UMAA had filled a long-awaited need and like many others she volunteered her time to work for UMAA in the future. The Program Agenda of the UMAA Program was admired by the
participants for its diversity of the topics and variety of quality speakers.

The four main sessions two each on Saturday and Sunday  were fully packed all the time in the session, nobody leaving during the sessions. Additionally the daily six workshops, covering myriad subjects, both for the youth and the old, attracted good numbers. The stalls in the hallways and in the Exhibition Room with a variety of things, books, clothes, jewelry and videos and an Islamic Art exhibition were added attractions. The youth and children were provided sight-seeing tours on both days.

The local Idara-e-Jafria very kindly hosted a dinner for the guests at their premises in Maryland. UMAA provided 8 buses to transport guests to and from Hyatt Regency. The Program concluded with a Banquet on Sunday night at the Hotel, which was attended and addressed by Abbas Mirakhor, the Executive Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the U.S. the Deputy Secretary Defense, Paul Wolfowitz. Whereas Mr. Mirakhor enthused the audience with his remarks inspired by Rumi's mysticism while greeting the audience for arranging this event, Paul Wolfowitz congratulated the organizers and UMAA on organizing the first convention of Shias in the United States and for making their voice heard. He encouraged the audience to get involved because through participation they will make a difference.          

Towards the end of the meeting a special note of thanks was placed on record in a full session by the convener, Dr. Parvez Shah, to express gratitude of UMAA and its associates to all those who had cooperated and  worked hard to get the message across to the Shias nationwide in such a short period of time. Dr. Shah thanked the participants for the big turn over and his colleagues and associates at UMAA who had worked hard to make this happen. He announced, amidst a big applause, that UMAA will hold its  2nd Annual UMAA Convention at Washington DC on the Memorial weekend (May 2004).
Here is how the Media looked at  the First UMAA Convention:

 THE FIRST UMAA CONVENTION OF AMERICAN SHIAS

SHI'ITES ADDRESS NEGATIVE IMAGES
By Julia Duin
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
     Several thousand Shi'ite Muslims are gathering in downtown Washington this weekend to counteract what they perceive as universally negative impressions of them portrayed by the world's media and other Muslims.

     "The misrepresentation of these images from September 11 have to be corrected," said Nasir Shamsi, spokesman for the Universal Muslim Association of America, which sponsored the gathering. "The Shi'ites want to distance themselves from the extremism."

     But the battle is uphill, said speakers at the first convention of Shi'ite Muslims in North America. The convention was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where the 1,200 attending yesterday were expected to increase to more than 2,000 today.

     Not only have Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims opposed the U.S. occupation in massive street demonstrations, but their compatriots in Iran  where Shi'ite Islam is dominant  are still remembered for the plundering of the U.S. Embassy there in 1979.

     In the United States, Shi'ites see themselves as a "minority within a minority," a vilified portion of the country's 4 million to 5 million Islamic adherents, most of whom are Sunni Muslims. American Shi'ites, who say they number at least 1.5 million, complain that they are not represented on the boards of American Muslim groups, such as the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America.

     "We sit here and ruminate and say we have the true path, but what happened to us?" asked Hasnain Walji, president of the World Khoja Shia Foundation in Dallas.

     But there may yet be a place in the United States' religious and political melting pot. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is scheduled to speak today at a closing banquet, along with Abbas Mirakhor, executive director of the International Monetary Fund.

     Several speakers said Shi'ite Muslims must become more involved in American politics and culture.

     The Shi'ites were demonstrating their strength at the event, scheduling an interfaith dialogue Friday that was standing room only. Yesterday's lectures sounded like primers in basic democracy. Capitalism and voter registration were held up as means of empowerment.

     One speaker called the U.S. Constitution a "great document" worthy of study, and he emphasized the benefits of community organizing.

     Another cited the Bahai faith, a Shi'ite sect founded in Iran in the 19th century whose adherents have prospered in the United States, as an example of what a small religion can do to gain acceptance. Bahaists are still persecuted in Iran.

     Robert Crane, a former U.S. ambassador to Bahrain who converted to Shi'ite Islam and leads the Center for Understanding Islam in Somerset, N.J., said Shi'ites should lobby in Congress, found a top-notch Islamic university in
North America and take part in Washington think tanks that help draft legislation.

     "Muslims used to think big," he said, "but the problem is they don't anymore. We aren't going to lead in America until we do those things."

     Several groups in the United States are dogging Muslims, he added. He included among those groups "radical evangelical" Christian leaders who have spoken on the evils they see in Islam.
     "They pose a superficial threat," Mr. Crane said. "This is fringe talk, and I think most people know that.
     "Moderate evangelicals" are more promising he said, referring to a May 9 meeting where 40 evangelical leaders distanced themselves from Christians who criticize Islam.
     Most dangerous, Mr. Crane said, are "extremist neo conservatives" in think tanks such as the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Michael Cromartie, the center's vice president, and Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute question Islam's right to exist because of a lack of human rights and direct relation with God.
    "Muslims have a bad record," in human rights, Mr. Crane said. But he added that Shariah, or Islamic law, should be revived because the religion was more tolerant in earlier centuries and, in theory, still is.
                        
 
Mission Statement of UMAA (The Universal Muslim Association of America )


Universal association of America (UMAA) seeks to provide a forum to foster unity among Muslims, to encourage Muslims to participate in the civic and political responsibilities, to dispel misgivings about Islam and the Muslims and help fellow Americans better understand Islam in the light of Quran and the teachings and practice of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Ahlul Bayt (a),  and to take all necessary measures to help implement the UMAA Objectives that, among other things, include social, religious, economic and political advancement of Muslims in America.  

OBJECTIVES

* Provide a Thinkers' Forum for the Muslims living in the United States
* Facilitate discussion on Social, Political and Economic issues
* Encourage Muslims to vote and to participate in the political process
* Promote better understanding of Islam through Inter-Faith dialog
* Encourage research on contemporary issues unique to living in the west
* Coordinate with the Media to help educate it on issues relating to Islam
* Provide a common platform and forum for the Muslim youth
* Organize Conventions, Seminars and workshops to help achieve UMAA Goals
* Cooperate and coordinate with other organizations pursuing similar goals
* Publish newsletters, brochures and written materials to impart information
* Raise funds for the organization
* Create a Central Secretariat to help implement the goals and objectives of the organization 


UMAA Convention Registration Form
May 28 - 30, 2004


To Register For Convention:
Name:   __________________________________________________     Male   -  Female
Address: 
______________________________________________________________________
City:  ____________________________________________  State: ______ Zip Code:_______
Home Phone: ________________________ Office Phone:______________________________
Email: ______________________________________________________________________

Please List Other Family Member(s) Attending:
                      

    Name                                                                      Female   Male  Child's Age
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________

Pre-Registration Cost:
Family___________                        $ 100 (includes parents and children upto 16years)____________  $ _______
Individual   _______                        $  50 per person X__________( # of individuals)_____________  $ _______
Students_________  $  25 per person X__________( # of students)__________________________  $ _______
Total Registration Cost _____________________________________________    (A)                        $ _______
Donation to UMAA _________________________________________________ (B)                        $_______
   Registration for Ulama_______________________________________________ (C)                       $_FREE_
Total Amount Due (Please write your checks to UMAA) ______________  (A+B+C)                            $_______

(Cancellation fee of $ 25 will be applied after April 30th, 2004 )
   
Please note that after pre-registration deadline 04/30/2004, registration
cost will be as follows:
Family: $ 125       Individual: $ 65        Students: $ 35

                               Meals will be available on site from the Hotel
Restaurant and the Restaurants near by.

Method of Payment: Cash / Travelers Check /Money Order   -   Check
(Payable to UMAA)

              Credit Card Type (Visa, M/C, Amex)  ___________________________

Credit Card #:  |__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|__|

    Exp. Date (MM/YY): |__|__|__|__|  / Exact name as it appears on credit
card:  _________________

Signature: _______________________________ Date: __________

For Room Reservation: Make sure you call the hotel directly for your stay.
Ask for the special UMAA rate of $ 99/night.
Cut-off date April 28th. 2004 (2 double beds room)
Call the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel
Address: 2660 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, DC, 20008, USA
                              Phone: 1-202-328-2000  / 1 888 236-2427  Fax:
1-202-234-0015
Please mail the form to the following Address:
UMAA (Universal Muslim Association of America)
P.O. Box: 414, Burtonsville, MD 20866 USA
Phone: (410) 584-7254    /    (646) 932-UMAA  (8622)     /    Fax: (410)785-2465
  Register on Web at: www.umaamerica.org

 

 

 

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