Past Outreach Events
The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh has been very active in its Outreach Activities in the city of Pittsburgh, the state of Pennsylvania and the surrounding states. To name just a few, the ICP Outreach program has participated at University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Carlow College, Penn State University, California University of Pennsylvania etc.
Alhamdulillah, this week, our Outreach program welcomed to the ICP a group 180 Christians form across the United States. The group was led by Mr. Jay Bell, the Director of the group called Internationals, USA, a ministry of Grace Brethren International Missions.
During the educational visit to our Center Imam 'AbduSemi'h A. Tadese presented a PowerPoint presentation entitled: "Islam in America Today". This pedagogy was used to educate the group in an organized fashion. We had the honor of having Imam Muhammad Hilal and Imam Atef Hamed who participated in the program, answering the questions from the audience.
Website for the group: http://jaybellsblog.blogspot.com
Saturday, May 30 a group from the ICP attended a leadership conference organized by PIIN. This conference was part of PIIN's Operation Holy Ground Project, which is a project designed to enable us as congregations to come together and be agents of change in our communities by spreading values of respect, understanding, and peace. The leadership training began with an introduction to faith and value based organizing. Then, everyone discussed as a group the importance of building relationships through one-on-one conversations. We practiced having one-on-one conversations with one another, trying to listen to each other and build relationships within and among our congregations. The goal of this exercise is that in the future, by having more of these conversations, we will be able to determine what motivates each of us, to find other leaders like us, and join together in pursuit of a common goal.
Around 2:30, we met together as an ICP team to make some decisions about how our congregation will begin to take action on this project. We discussed a few issues like immigration and health care that concern the Muslim community as a whole--but the most important issue we discussed is how we can show people the true nature of our community and our religion, and this will be the subject of our first planning meeting, which we will have as an ICP congregation. This meeting will take place on June 20th at 6:00 in the ICP. Finally, the leadership training concluded with some reports and closing remarks.
PIIN has drafted a strategic calendar for 2009 with the schedule for further trainings, meetings, and sessions. The next meeting is called the AALC June tenth Conference, and it will be taking place on June 11 and 12 in Kansas City. We were invited, but I told them that we could not attend since this is the weekend of our ICP Camp. However, there is another conference from August 9-15 in Chicago, so I told them that maybe we could attend.
Overall, I think that this particular training was beneficial for all who attended. It was nice to see a group of truly motivated people who are tired of just talking and sitting around, and who have committed themselves to being forces of change in their community at large.
In a program organized by Penn State University, we participated in Educating Iraqi Military Families' Children at the Science Center about Islam, Arab and Muslim culture.
This event was held at the Science Center even the children of the American Military family got to dress in Arab garb.
The event brought the real Islamic knowledge closer to the children and families, especially when some of them actually dressed in veils and tasted some Middle Eastern foods. The children had fun and got educated at the same time.
On Tuesday February 17th, after Dhuhr prayer between 1:00 and 2:30 PM, a group of eight people from Macedonia came to visit the Islamic Center. They have been visiting the United States for three weeks now. Three of them were Muslims; the other five were non-Muslims. Some of them were teachers in Islamic and Catholic schools in Macedonia, and others were members of prominent human rights organizations in western Europe. During their time in the United States, they have been traveling around to different faith-based organizations and places of worship.
Before their visit to the ICP, they had already met with several priests from the Pittsburgh area, so it was time for them to meet with us to discuss Islam. The group asked questions about our beliefs, women's rights in Islam, interfaith dialogs, what it means to be a Muslim in the United States, discrimination against Muslims, and the functions of the Islamic Center, among other topics. The non-Muslims were surprised to learn that, contrary to popular belief, Muslim women enjoy just as many, often more, rights than their non-Muslim counterparts.
Overall, the group was very impressed with the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, our size, and the number of programs we are currently providing. I hope that they all learned something from our meeting, and that their visit proved beneficial to them in their exploration of different faiths.
Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh, Allaah subhanahu wata'aala has decreed that we are going to live right here in the West, as citizens, residents and professionals. Hence, our needs are unlimited and from time to time we interact with Muslims as well as non Muslims. Therefore, as Muslims we ask Allah first and foremost for support.
However, we are fortunate that PIIN as an organization is in a position to interact with the officials in Pittsburgh, from the governor to the council-persons. Therefore, it is of profound necessity to cautiously engage those (PIIN Affiliates) in order to attain our rights, while we strive to fulfill our legal obligations: paying taxes, etc.
The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh invited the PIIN organization to hold their monthly meeting at the center on February 12th. It went outstanding; the members said how much they loved to come to the center, and seemed to feel very at home in the ICP. We presented them with a wonderful dinner cooked by one of our sisters, and also took the opertunity to place some dawa books out for them, and invite the women to the ladies coffee hour. Thus giving them the chance to learn and hopefully understand the Islamic religion a bit more inshallah. Both of the imamís and the office manager were present to meet and welcome the 40 women and men that attended the meeting. Alhumdallah they all seemed to leave with a smile.
"Inna Allaaha la yughayyiru maa biqaomen hatta yughayyiru maa bi anfusehem" meaning, "Verily, Allah would not change the condition of people until they change that is within their selves." We at the ICP have chosen the policy of engaging those who show no enmity towards us based on Suratul Mumtahinnah, Ayah 8 and 9.
It was presented February 7th, 2009 at 6:00pm with guest speaker Rev. John C. Welch, President, Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network and our own Imam Abdusemih A. Tadese, Outreach Principal The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh invited the public to participate in an evening of interfaith dialogue centered on the sanctity of human life; a common tenet shared by all Abrahamic faiths.
5:32 On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person for no right or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew all mankind: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind".
30:41 Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of (the injustice) that the hands of men have wrought"
In recent weeks we have been once again reminded of the injustice and oppression that humans are capable of bringing upon their own brethren. Images from Gaza, of wanton destruction, killing and human suffering brought about by horrendous acts of revenge and hate, have left us in horror and dismay.
At the same time, we find it an auspicious sign that our President, himself a representative of a people long oppressed, has started his tenure with a concerted effort to bring about peace and justice for a tortured population in the holy land.
In response to the despicable massacres against civilians in Gaza, in hope for a better future for mankind under the dominion of a Just and Loving God, in recognition of the struggle of the African American people and in appreciation of Black History month; ICP in collaboration with Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, invited our neighbors, friends and all peace loving people to this interfaith activity.
Allah subhanahu wata'aala knows the interests of the Muslims may require that they work with non Muslims who show no enmity towards them. Therefore, the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh is in a position to work with Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network in order to foster a cooperation that would engender an atmosphere for future collaboration in many aspects of life, specifically in the city of Pittsburgh.
By Allah's grace, the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh invited PIIN President, Rev. John Welch to the Center to demonstrate our commitment to work with all affiliate groups under the umbrella of PIIN, and the event was indeed a successful one. Our sincere gratitude goes to PIIN leadership, organizers, and all those who attended the Panel it was quite memorable events. To all the Brothers and Sisters, who helped to organize the event, Jazakum Allahu khayra.