More than 100 Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and members of other faiths gathered at the newly expanded Interfaith Institute of the Islamic Center of Long Island (ICLI) recently, for the first annual awards event.
People from different faiths enthusiastically came together to further the mission and vision of the Institute, engage Muslims and members from diverse cultures and communities by promoting the values and teaching of Islam and other faiths and advocate Inter-faith harmony in a multicultural environment in accordance with the Holy Qur`an and Sunnah.
The Institute Chair and one of the founding members, Dr. Farooque Khan, presented his opening remarks and an overview of the activities and events since the launch of the Institute in October 2015. Some of the board of trustees present made brief comments and emphasized the significance of the existence of such an Institute to help dispel misconceptions about Islam and build bridges of understanding amongst different faiths.
Shaida Khan, a past member of the board of trustees of the ICLI made a very Informative and insightful presentation on the "hijab." She addressed the three C's behind the "Hijab"; Confusion, Controversy and Conversation, which embodied the solidarity for the evening's awardee, honoring her recognition of the hijab in her personal journey. Shaida Khan touched upon the literal and metaphorical meaning of the word hijab, its religious significance to Muslims and the questions surrounding it. A slideshow loop that played along with the presentation was a visual delight and aroused a unique element of enthusiasm amongst the audience.
This brought the event to a pinnacle; recognizing and honoring the courageous and distinguished Dr. Larycia Hawkins. The Institute presented Hawkins with a plaque for her unconditional solidarity to Muslim women by donating the hijab as well as for her interfaith activism. A Christian professor of political science at Wheaton College, an evangelical school in Illinois, Hawkins was suspended in December 2015 for expressing her belief that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. She is presently a visiting faculty fellow at the University of Virginia. In her acceptance speech she emphasized that all religions convey a singular message and that the hijab is simply a way of honoring God with our bodies.
What better way to end the evening than by listening to the charismatic eloquence of Dr. Calvin O. Butts III. The audience was enthralled by his articulate keynote speech on the importance of interfaith interactions and his continued comradery with the ICLI. He also shared his views on the utter disregard and disrespectful rhetoric from Republican residential candidate Donald Trump towards Muslims, minorities and women, which has no place in this country or elsewhere.
The evening ended with abundant time to mingle and get to know one another along with a delicious spread of food from different Muslim ethnicities and cultures. -- Submitted by the Islamic Center Of Long Island