Foundation, NJ  U. S. A


the Message Continues ... 5/76


Newsletter for December 2007

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FRANKLIN Township, NJ: Muslims celebrate diversity
Staff Writer,
The Courier News
June 16, 2007

FRANKLIN (Somerset), NJ, — An eclectic serving of speakers, musical performances, art displays and poetry readings marked a gathering Saturday of Muslims from across the Garden State and beyond.

The diverse lineup of “Islam in the West: Past Glory, Present Reality” at the Garden State Exhibit Center shouldn’t catch anyone by surprise, said Ron Smith, a 36-year-old convert to Islam from New York.

“That’s what Islam is — diversity. You have that no matter what,” Smith said. “It’s important to show that. In today’s world, it doesn’t get shown enough.”

About 2,000 people from across the region were expected to attend the event, sponsored by representatives from Islamic Video Productions, New Islamic Directions and Bayann Inc.

Tariq Subhani, a member of the event’s program committee, said the idea was to unite indigenous Muslims and those from abroad to “paint a picture of Islam which is far different from what the media has been portraying.”

Hundreds of people had already gathered soon after the event started at 2 p.m., watching a display of calligraphy by Haji Noor Deen, who flew in from China, before a preview of Zahir Ahmed’s documentary “God of Abraham” explored the connections among Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

A larger crowd was expected by the time Shaykh Hamza Yusuf was scheduled to take the stage at about 9 p.m. The Islamic scholar advised President Bush following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Princeton resident Omer Aziz, 27, said the package of entertainers and speakers drew him to the event.

“There are things to do in Princeton, but not necessarily with an Islamic focus,” Aziz said.

Aziz said Islam and the teachings of Muhammad guide him in dealing with friends, family and non-Muslims, adding that most of the non-Muslims he knows don’t understand as much as they could about the religion.

“Muslims have to do a better job of putting their name out there — getting the message of Islam into the mainstream,” Aziz said.

The Virginia-based band Native Deen — “Deen” is an Arabic word for religion or way of life — were scheduled to perform their fusion of hip-hop, R&B and world music later Saturday.

“In three years, we want to make this ... more of a household name, a name that you identify with youth-appropriate lyrics and a strong message of positivity and anti-drugs,” band member Naeem Muhammad said.

Members said their songs address everyday life viewed through the lense of Islam.
Abdul-Malik Ahmad said he was inspired to write “The Lord is Watching” after reading about both the positive and negative things children can find on the Internet







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