I only went for a few hours on Sunday with a few people including non-Muslims that were giving a presentation and we also had 3 older kids with us without their parents. It seemed OK, but not as crowded as years past. Also because there was a RIS conference on the West Coast at the same time many big speakers/entertainment acts and stuff went there instead
Like Sh. Hamza Imam Zaid, Suhaib Webb, Native Deen, etc So I helped with their presentation on Muslim pre-emptive prosecutions then I only had time to visit the bazaar really quick and bought the kids Eid outfits and things. For myself I bought a black sparkly hijab, some baby gifts for upcoming babies and a fancy jilbab for Eid!!
Here's a view from one of the non-Muslims with us. Thought I'd share this cuz it was cute
As luck would have it, on Saturday, S., K. and I were scheduled to give a talk in Hartford to the Islamic Circle Convention. We asked Ib. if he wanted to come and before we knew it we had two cars full including I and all the kids as well. I knew that the Convention was a big deal but I was stunned at what we found. It was held in the Hartford Convention Center which is a very attractive modern facility of some three floors all of which were occupied with different presentations of one sort or another around the theme of Muslim Families. There must have been close to ten thousand Muslims there all dressed up in their best and really enjoying the interaction with each other in a place where for a few moments they were the majority. There were formal discussions of Muslim family finance, and the different styles of chanting, and civil rights, and just about every other topic you could think of. I saw a number of old Muslim friends from Al. that I had not seen for years . It was that kind of place which was in one sense vast and overwhelming, and in another sense, warm, friendly and even intimate.
I think Ib. was genuinely puzzled and amused by what he saw. He is against Islamists and the wearing of outward signs of Islam which he regards as old fashioned, and I think when he came to America he expected to find Muslims who had given up the head scarf and had become "modern". Instead he found an entire convention of Muslims, proud to show their Islamic culture in the way they dressed and the subjects they discussed. It just seemed to make no sense to him and we had a lot of jokes about it back and forth as to who was modern and who was not. The kids promptly ran off to the huge "bazaar" which had been organized on the first floor for the selling of all manner of Muslim clothes and books and jewelry and we saw them only occasionally after that, although A. was kind enough to actually sit through our entire presentation with H.
Our presentation was later in the afternoon and was well attended - I think we had over a hundred people present and it was standing room only. Giving a presentation to a Muslim audience is always a pleasure because the audience immediately understands what you are talking about - they get it right away and they are with you every step of the way. American audiences generally do not get it and they are skeptical and resistent to suggestions about preemptive prosecution. This audience was great and brought out the usual eloquence of S. and K. We sold a box of books, Mauri took another box to sell, we got some volunteers and I felt really good about the day.
Mauri Saalakhan was there and was really supporting our presentation. He wants to push the Muslim leadership into taking a more confrontational approach. I am including at the end of this email an open letter to the Muslim leaders from Mauri urging a more outspoke approach and citing our example in Al. as to what can be done to advance Muslim issues. It is an interesting commentary. Every time I think we are alone and nobody is listening to us, something like this happens and I realize many people are listening and watching our example. We must be proud of what we have done and recognize that we are involved in larger issues and events of which was are only a small part. (Ahhh, but if that small part makes enough noise it can influence how the larger issues and events unfold.)