City of Brass

City of Brass


Brookings Institution Iftaar

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Durriya Badani.

FullPanelshot

On August 9, 2011, the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World hosted the Brookings Institution’s first Iftar dinner. The Iftar dinner, has been an annual tradition in Washington, D.C. since 2000, with Iftars being celebrated at the White House, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and U.S. embassies overseas. The event was an intimate conversation among colleagues and members of the American Muslim community, and featured noted academics, playwrights, former ambassadors, government officials, religious leaders, and community activists. Mehlam bin Ali Asghar Zainuddin, a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community and grandson of His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin TUS, delivered the Qur’anic recitation and commentary, selecting passages from Surat al Hashr and Surat al Hijr and discussed the importance of piety and the remembrance of Allah during the month of Ramadan. He shared with both the literal and the deeper meanings of the passages, noting that although the pious will certainly be amidst the gardens and the heavens in the afterlife, even for this time, if they are indeed pious they are already amidst the gardens and rivers of Jannat even in this world. He further spoke of the importance of rememberance of Allah, of tasbeeh, and shared a brief verse from the Arabic poet Muttanabi.

Tilawaat

The panel discussion that followed highlighted the increased involvement, activism, and engagement of the younger American Muslim generation, a “9/11 generation,” as President Obama recently coined. This is a generation that has expressed and raised its voice and articulated its story in a variety of ways—as playwrights, writers, filmmakers, and poets. One of the panel speakers noted that this moment in American Muslim history heralds back to the early days of Islam, since in 7th century Arabia, it was the storyteller, not the swordsman, who was the most valued and prized member of society. One of the participants commented on the administration’s efforts to deepen and broaden the relationship with Muslim communities, which has encompassed looking beyond the security relationship to explore other dimensions, including but not limited to arts and culture and science and technology. In addition, other participants mentioned the difference in experiences between Muslims in the United States and those in Europe. Others suggested that lessons can be drawn from other communities which have experienced similar challenges in being accepted and integrated into mainstream American society. One of the panelists reaffirmed this point, noting that the experiences of the African American community are valuable and instructive. Finally, a few participants reflected on the progress made by the American Muslim community in the last decade, both culturally and politically. In regard to the latter, these participants pointed to the election of two Muslim American members of Congress, the grassroots activities and appointment of Muslim Americans to high-level cabinet positions in states such as Maryland, and the election of a president with a Muslim middle name of Hussein.

Additional photographs and information are available at the US – Islamic World Forum website (islamicworldforum.org) and you can follow them on Twitter as @usislamicforum.

Durriya Badani is the Deputy Director of the Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy.



Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Comments are closed.



Previous Posts

Post-Ramadan reflections
Welcome back, readers :) My apologies for being so AWOL from blogging. This past Ramadan I had genuinely been able to ramp up my iba

posted 9:48:39am Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Tweeting the Qur'an #ttQuran
My friend Hussein Rashid launched the idea of Tweeting the Qur’an a few years ago and the idea has steadily caught on, and even at

posted 1:04:00pm Jul. 10, 2014 | read full post »

The Criterion: reading the Qur'an is the foundation of ibadat in Ramadan
Ramadan is one-third over. Unlike past years, I've not written as much about my observances this year because I've been dedicated to

posted 1:00:20pm Jul. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Nominations now open for the 11th Annual Brass Crescent Awards
The Brass Crescent Awards is an annual awards ceremony that honors the best writers and thinkers of the emerging Muslim blogosphere (aka the Islamsphere). Nominations are taken from blog readers, who then vote for the winners. Founded in 2004 by myself and Shahed Amanullah, the Brass Crescent Awa

posted 5:18:45am Jun. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Ramadan Kareem from the Democratic Party and President Obama
The official twitter handle of the Democratic Party (@TheDemocrats) just posted this Ramadan Kareem message quoting President Obama: https://twitter.com/TheDemocrats/status/482895697222443008 "Ramadan reminds us of our shared responsibility to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves an

posted 4:00:46pm Jun. 28, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.