A section of attendees at the 18th Minnesota Muslim Convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday, October 15, 2022. Photo: Courtesy MAS Minnesota

Over 10,000 Muslims met for a one-day conference in Minneapolis marking one of the largest Muslim gatherings in the state since the onset of the pandemic. Several mosques throughout Minnesota worked together to organize the event, led by Dar al-Faruq Center and the Muslim American Society (MAS).

Saturday’s event marked the 18th consecutive annual convention. The annual event aims to boost the faith of Minnesota Muslims and encourage the Muslim youth to learn from Muslim legends. According to the organizers, the legends are older and wiser Muslim community members who guide young Muslims to the right path.

One of the main organizers and the co-chair of the Minnesota Muslim Convention, Khalid Omar, said, “One of the secrets, why our convention is expanding each year, is that it’s diverse,” he added, “All Muslims are considered.” Khalid Omar further said, “Great things can only happen through collaboration.”

He told Mshale that this convention is expanding, getting bigger each year, saying, “This year’s theme was learning from the legends.”

Turnout was significantly higher than last year as things get back to normal after the pandemic slowdown.

“We were in surplus this year and doubled the number of attendees. We explored every avenue possible to reach the Muslim community here. We have realized that grassroots movements like this (convention) is the way to get big crowds like this,” said Omar

A few world-renowned guest speakers also participated in the event. Hussein Hashi, one of the Somali Minnesota Muslim students who came to listen to the English speakers said “It’s important to learn from the Muslim legends.”

There was a strong presence of young people, teenagers, and families of 20 to 30-year-old parents with young children interested in listening to English lectures and watching the Quran competition which was a major draw this year.

Lectures and teachings were offered in both English and Somali.

“I like the way in which this convention was organized, a smiling Ramla Abdulkadir said as he took pictures. “I am really amazed by this conference.”

Omar, the 23-year-old welcoming Muslims coming from across the state at the hallway exclaimed that it feels like another Eid.

“I am happy. I like the vibe, the energy, the brotherhood, and sisterhood,” said Omar. “It feels like Eid or the State Fair, another important reason is that we have involved the energy of the young volunteers.”

Imam Nasir Hamza from the Oromo community was one of the volunteers.

“Such Muslim gatherings and events are needed, it’s uplifting,” said Hamza. “They raise the profile of Muslims in America.”

Imam Hamza said he would like to see non-Muslim communities and neighbors invited so that they can see and learn more about Muslim culture and religion.

Lectures by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi which were delivered in English were a major draw for the non-Somali speaking Somali youth. Somali speaking ones were very interested in listening and taking pictures with the famous Djiboutian Sheikh and political analyst, Sh. Abdirahman Bashir from Canada.

The convention drew a diverse crowd as in previous years. Somalis, who have a significant presence in the state, were joined by Pakistanis, African American Muslims, White Muslims, and Muslims from the Mideast and Ethiopia.

“We would like to thank the volunteers, the Imams, and the guest speakers who came from other states to share their knowledge with us, Omar said. “We will expand more next year and invite international guest speakers insha Allah”, an Arabic term meaning ‘if Allah wills it.

About Mohamud Farah Dulyadeyn, Mshale Contributing Writer

Mshale Contributor Mohamud Farah Dulyadeyn is the host of Wacyi Show for Somali Cable TV. He is an alum of Metropolitan State University, where he majored in journalism.

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