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September 8, 2005

The Necessity of the ISNA Convention


 


Edit, Friday 2:10 AM: looks like all my complaining, whining, and self-effacing pleas  were finally answered. After more than a year of waiting to finally make it to featured content, it feels great. I’d have to rank this even higher than getting into med school. A special thanks to all my visitors, and jazakallah khayr to those kind souls that put up with my childishness and eprop me regularly.


 




 


It is quite amazing when one considers the various methods people will use to “be cool”. Ever since I was a young lad, I’ve found that no matter the age, race, class, or religiosity of a person, there seems to be some primal human need to speak, think, and do the cool thing. In short, we crave acceptance by our peers. This perhaps explains why people go clubbing or such—to gain a nod of affirmation from those whose approval they desire. The same mentality works on the other end of the spectrum as well—matters such as the recent lemming-ness seen with everyone wanting to go overseas or be seen at the latest conference are some of the more obvious ones. Recently, it seems that the newest mantra to chant—because again, it’s the cool thing to do—is to bash on all forms of Muslim organizations. In a display of post-modern nihilism, certain Muslims have found it convenient to denounce specific Muslims organizations (such as ISNA) and completely ignore the bigger picture—the irony here being that nihilism is a post-modern worldview and thus should be completely antithetical to a Muslim rooted in tradition. Simply stated, nihilism preaches that the destruction of existing political and social institutions is necessary for future improvement; my point is that this mentality never reared its ugly head in traditional Muslim discussions until now.


 


            Amongst Muslim organizations and events that are currently taking a beating, the ISNA Convention stands out as one that is receiving the collective denouncement from certain groups of people. The problem with this criticism is that there is a failure amongst the critics to separate between what the organization stands for and hopes to achieve at the convention and the activities that occur as an unintentional and unfortunate byproduct. For example, ISNA’s goals as an organization are clearly unrelated to the infamous lobby problems—yet this isn’t being understood by many Muslims. It is wrongly assumed that ISNA tacitly approves of such activities; the reality is that ISNA leadership is sincerely and desperately trying to correct the lobby problem. From taking action such as holding late-night basketball tournaments, late night MSA sessions on gender relations/marriage, mentioning it in the Friday khutbah (as AzeemKhan wrote in the comments to the last post), and to the frank acknowledgement from many ISNA leaders that this is a serious problem that they acknowledge and are willing to hear suggestions on how to solve… these reasons are some of many that should prove to the unbiased observer that not only is the problem recognized, but serious steps are being taken to correct it. Alhamdulillah, I think this year significant leaps were made in controlling some of this problem—mashallah Asim’s message was heard by ISNA leadership and they worked together to try to develop a viable strategy. The point here is that everyone admits there is much more work to be done (the lobby problem is only one of many problems that loom in the foreground), but at least they’re moving in the right direction. The good in that must be appreciated.


 


            I think that leads me to the crux of this article: that despite the apparent vileness of something, the good will always outweigh and overwhelm its opposite. To this effect, the Qur’an says: “Say: not equal are the bad and things that are good, even though the abundance of the bad may dazzle (and incapacitate) thee; so fear God, o ye of deep perspicacity, that ye may be successful.” In other words, even the smallest amount of good in something outweighs a mountain of evil; compound this with the realization that the bad from the convention is an unintended and unfortunate consequence, and one must realize the greatness of the good from the convention. My last post was not meant to bash on ISNA or the convention, but to make a sarcastic statement about the lobby problem (but not the people, read below); it would have been downright improper of me to bash on an organization and its convention that I’ve volunteered and spoken at for years now. On the contrary, I think the convention is necessary and beneficial, and I think the following reasons (amongst many others) should be sufficient to demonstrate this:


 


           



  1. The convention is the largest gathering of Muslims in the western hemisphere and one of the largest in the world. It’s somewhat of an American hajj in the sense that one gets to see the diverse array of Muslims that comprise the American Muslim community: fobs, converts, first-generations… all of them in one place. Sure, it’s media friendly and its great to get our two seconds airtime on CNN… but it’s even better to see so many different kinds of Muslims. It’s refreshing to see new faces instead of the same old people day in and out—personally, I’m sick of seeing most of you everyday. But for people in small boon dock towns, it’s quite uplifting it is for them to attend and think, “Wow, there are actually other Muslims out there?” Indeed, for many people like this, the sight of real Muslims is enough spiritual fuel to keep them going for another year; sometimes we city-dwellers forget that.
  2. The convention also gives ordinary people a taste of scholarship, especially the innocent MYNA kids. Obviously, one doesn’t go to the convention to become a scholar or even educated completely about an issue—but at least it’s like a small taste of what is to come if one begins to pursue sacred knowledge. Especially with the younger kids, how many of them who are now grown up and students of knowledge were encouraged by words of motivation heard at an ISNA session? Even now, those few minutes of exposure to scholarship has changed (and continues to change) the lives of many participants. Many of those who bash the conference now because they’ve moved onto a level beyond conferences ought to remember that they only reached this level because of this initial event. Forgetting one’s origins is a contemptible quality in any time and place.
  3. The conference motivates people to make a change in their lives. Granted that in recent years, the theme(s) of the ISNA/MSA conference has shifted to more political and activism mumbo-jumbo (mashallah MYNA keeps it real… their theme this year was so simple yet elegant: loving the Prophet), but the fact remains that the conference does motivate the average Muslim to do something when they get back home. Granted, that the change might not last after a while, but the fact that people recognized the need and ability to make changes in their lives on various levels cannot be overlooked either. In short, ISNA is a great pep rally to get people to start working when the convention is done; whether they do the work is their prerogative.
  4. ISNA gives us an accurate sampling of the American Muslim community for a weekend. As mentioned earlier, it’s not only ethnically diverse, but one can also see the full spectrum of religiosity in the attendees. One can see the aptly-named hardcore brother, the trying-to-get-there Muslim, and the cultural Muslim in one place. Perhaps more importantly, one can also see the type of Muslim that needs help—I’m talking about those same lobby people that everyone bashes on. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: hate the sin but don’t hate the sinner. It’s these people that need the most help, and the convention reminds the rest of us who’d prefer to sit comfortably in our ivory towers that there’s much work to be done. I find it amazing that people get all indignant and ticked off that this kind of thing happens during one weekend of the year but don’t say a thing about it when it happens the other fifty one weekends of the year. Granted that the lobby problem is a more concentrated dose of this problem and one can actually see it happening before one’s eyes, but the fact remains that the convention is a snapshot of the American Muslim community. If anything, rather than being upset by how this photo turns out, it ought to make the rest of us figure out how to make the picture better.
  5. The economic benefits of the conference are also important. Many Muslim stores depend on the convention like their American counterparts depend on Christmas. The bazaar not only allows hundreds of thousands of dollars to stay within the Muslim community, but it also helps to launch many companies. How else did companies like Shukr and Islamica become famous had it not been for ISNA? (on a side note, had it not been for the bazaar, I wouldn’t have made one of the greatest purchases of my life: a copy of the Qur’an written in Warsh for only $10) The concept of the “Muslim t-shirt” developed because of the ISNA bazaar; the dozens of companies making intelligent and witty shirts owe their success to the convention. One cannot underestimate the economic benefits of large Muslim gatherings; even the Hajj, the greatest gathering of Muslims, has historically been associated with financial transactions that are prescribed as part of the event.  
  6. The ISNA convention allows networking amongst organizations, professionals, scholars, etc. Given the situation that American Muslims find themselves in, more than ever, it’s necessary for these connections to be made. Specifically, I feel that there is a greater onus for our scholars to have solid links of communication so that they’re all on the same page in major matters such as moon sighting, etc. The aftermath of 9/11 should have demonstrated to us how woefully pathetic we are in having such networks. The convention has numerous side conferences for such people (the first step to establishing Muslim guilds amongst professional, scholars, etc)—again, the value of this cannot be overlooked.
  7. Finally, I think the convention shows the observant attendee that this community, despite its numerous sicknesses and problems, still has much potential. If only this potential can be nurtured (and in some instances this requires for this potential to be removed from the community for a while to develop in a Ghazalian exile), there is still the promise for a brighter future for American Muslims.

 


In the end then, I think it goes back to the simple truth that one must appreciate the good for what it is and not be incapacitated by the evil. Never are the two alike; the only possible similarity is that each should cause us to focus our attention on the work that needs to be done.


 


I think the ISNA convention shows us both. Stop hating, you’re not cool.

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56 Comments
  1. perhaps one of your best short articles. good stuff mashallah.

  2. Anonymous permalink

    Ya these idiots who make a mockery of isna need to be taken outside, beaten wid their mother’s chappal and then tarred and feathered…. Get a life you losers

  3. Agreed.

  4. ISNA is one of most eminently devout and pietistic amassments in the tellurian bailiwick.  I descry a profuse quantum of latent inlying the concomitants that monopolize the sacrosanct amassment.  Who is to avouch, that one day the strumpet partisans viably all befit praxis venerers of Allah.   Who can discern, they may vainly overture ebb their abetment benigning Bush.  Save, that would genuinely ballyhoo the mode.   In all axiom, ISNA is a amassment of preeminent ethos ……..for myself to besmirch upon.
     
    *** FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT DON’T SPEAK “KR”, READ THE VERSION BELOW.  I HAVE TO WARN YOU, THE TRANSLATION DOES LOOSE ONE HIDDEN POINT OF MINE. LOL ***
     
    ISNA is one of holiest gatherings in the world.  I see so much potential in the people that attend the blessed gathering.  Who is to say, one day they might all become practicing worshipers of Allah.  Hey, they might even one day stop supporting Bush.  But that’s really pushing it.  But in all honesty, ISNA is a gathering of great minds……..for me to poop on!!!

  5. (Sorry, I meant lose not loose.)

  6. hahahaha! Riz = studKR = pwnedgood SHORT article. I actually read it all for once.

  7. OMG Thank you! I didn’t read your whole entry, but know it points out the good of the convention, at least seems too. It’s a point that I was trying to make on my xanga. Salaam

  8. Anonymous permalink

    solid post piaz.
    I think i will be one to admit that i was quick to point out the faults of isna this year. 40 lashes?
    from my post, it always hits me afterwards:I’ve come to realize that not ALL of the blame can be put on ISNA. It should be put on us, the attendees. I blame myself for not contributing in a positive manner to whatever ISNA has done to bring some sort of unity to the national ummah. At least this year.

  9. Well written article, as always. I don’t know if I agree with most of it…but well written, nonetheless.

  10. Anonymous permalink

    salamz
    i luv isna no matta wah..i no all the junk tha happens there but u can def. benefit from it
    peace

  11. i always wanted to go to ISNA  and ICNA Conventions
    iNSAHALALH ONE DAY WILL GO THERE….
     

  12. nice points…in a rush…..comment to follow at another time IA….

  13. props, yes proppage to you indeed.

  14. Good article, I agree that we should support organizations that work for the betterment of Islam.  I also must say that ISNA organizers took several effective steps this year to begin correcting the “lobby problem” among other problems that exist.  I applaud their efforts.
     
    However, you stated:
     
    “The problem with this criticism is that there is a failure amongst the critics to separate between what the organization stands for and hopes to achieve at the convention and the unfortunate activities that occur as an unintentional and unfortunate byproduct.”
     
    I believe that separation from what ISNA hopes to achieve and the unfortunate activities are inseparable because, although they may hope to achieve lofty goals, they are responsible for general atmosphere that they engineer at their event.  By “engineer” I mean the policies that they implement or fail to implement that makes the collective behavior more or less likely.
     
    It is possible to sway the “culture” and influence the “snapshot” because of the clout they hold.  Case-and-point, this year’s convention improved from last year regarding the lobby problem because ISNA organizers and CRITICS/DISSENTERS took a stand and began clearing out the lobby.  This made a difference. So “unintentional by-product” is not the issue.  The result may not be intended, but a failure to address it is just as culpable.
     
    Of course the solution is long term so this isn’t the end.  Moreover, if we continue to criticize POLICIES (I agree we should not criticize people) we can continue to achieve results.  Although it is true that we should try to work within the organization to change it, it would be naive to think that ISNA has a transparent structure where people can easily voice their concerns and be heard by ISNA’s leadership.  Therefore, I think CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is essential to bring about needed change.

  15. to abdul, kz, xpika, salman, mujahida, datubelite, peaceman: thank you for your kind words… ::bows gratefully::
    to rizwan: i think your comment represents exactly what i was pointing out as the problem with all the bashers. stop hating, it isn’t cool. the part of your comment that definitely irks me the most: “they might all become practicing worshippers of Allah”… that statement is so wrong on so many levels that im not even gonna dignify it with a response. suffice it to say that im deeply disturbed and disappointed to read something like that from you… you’re better than that.
    to qidas: i’d be willing to listen to counterpoints
    to emam: haha, stop acting like youre a busy guy… we all know you do nothing but check your xanga all day

  16. very good points

  17. to moeeds: wow, finally someone with insightful commentary.
    my point is that the lobby problem is the tip of the iceberg in terms of problems that the American Muslim community faces. perhaps because it’s so in our faces, we’re more likely to notice/care about it than the other problems (such as literalism, separating spirituality and activism, etc). in the case of these policies they currently employ/don’t employ, i’m not sure if the collective behavior will become more or less likely. in other words, even if ISNA is able (inshallah) to completely fix the lobby problem, this doesn’t solve the root of the problem, which is sexual frustration and promiscuity amongst young Muslims (for a variety of reasons) manifesting itself in this ugly manner. specifically, in regards to the point about it being possible to sway culture and influence the snapshot… i think that simply solving the lobby problem at ISNA is a quick fix for a problem that requires serious contemplation and an innovative cure. in other words, it’s the mentality that’s the problem, not just the outward manifestations of it. perhaps the first step is the quick fix, but i think the benefit (if any) in seeing the lobby problem is that it should stir up concerned Muslims to recognize that there is much work to be done. there is no silver bullet (unfortunately) that will solve the problems of this community; as we live in the real world, it requires real people to rack their collective minds and spirits together to come up with real, pragmatic, and long-lasting solutions.
    as for ISNA not being transparent… i’d have to humbly yet firmly disagree with that. ISNA leadership, from my experience and others’ as well, is quite approachable. they recognize the problem, and realize that their strategies of having tournaments and late night sessions aren’t very effective. in speaking to kareem irfan on monday, he told me that ISNA is now desperately looking for input from anyone who can help them with this specific problem. perhaps they are a few years late in coming to this open-ness, but the fact that they’re at least finally here, i think, must be commended. more importantly, this means that it’s time for the bashers to put their money where their mouth is and do something constructive, instead of just sitting there and wallowing in their hatred. this is why the words of The Rock are perhaps the wisest words i’ve ever heard: “know your role and shut your mouth”, meaning if someone doesn’t want to do anything about it and wants to let others handle the problem… that’s fine, no problem, but at least this sort of person should keep his mouth shut. as the hadith says, “whosoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him speak goodness or be silent”.
    finally, i agree, criticism of policies is the best way to bring about change. but i would add that once one criticizes about a given policy, one should also take the next step and offer something that may have greater benefit. in other words, we need to stop simply bashing on ISNA’s policies if we can’t develop intelligent alternatives for them to adopt instead.
    seriously bro, thank you for your comment, i look forward to this discussion.

  18. As usual, well said kr. We have too many haters, but not enough people who actually will do something.

  19. Good post. You are wise but still a little immature. Insha’Allah with some jihad-an-nafs, you will be headed places my friend.-Mohd

  20. simply excellent, mA. tis reassuring that this discussion is not only occurring but is also so highly perspicacious. one facet of this discussion upon which i would like to comment iA is the emphasis on policy. normally i would be of the first to lead the cheer for p-o-l-i-c-y, but in my policy experience, treating issues that are so fundamentally and agonizingly human strictly as policy issues can often dehumanize them. often the drive for policy change is plagued by an emphasis on a ‘greater good’ so much so that it places the already-marginalized group at a further disadvantage by objectifying them as some sort of incorrigle ‘other.’ i’d give a policy example, but i think the point is clear. practically, this translates into some serious thought about how much policy alone would actually do in the way of correction – it certainly won’t melt any of the submerged iceberg. instead, we ought maybe to think of the human behind the policy, perhaps walk a bit of our path of self-righteousness and smile and meet and say salaam to one from whom we’d usually frown and turn away. the view is a lot different when one gets off her high horse, steps out of her comfort zone, and hears the story of another with ears of openness and mercy. in other words, i think the mentality that needs to be corrected is also on the those who consider themselves non-‘lobby folk’. especially before, but even now still, i see in the face and hear in the voice of every friend in the lobby my own, because i never know when our positions could be reversed. and i keep thinking in all of this of two ayat that i have recalled aloud every time i have visited inmates in jail and residents in detention centers-walladheena fi amwaalihim haqqum ma’loom; lissaa’ili wal mahroom-which have always undeniably been received with the most grace and gratitude i have ever seen. those who have a right upon us, and our services will not always let us know so, and no doubt it’s on us to step right, not just in policy but in our mentality, character, and interaction with others. finally, lest we think that we gotta wait until the next isna to carry out such steps, i humbly remind us otherwise.baraakallahu feekum.-IJB

  21. salam alaikum
    amen.
    great post.

  22. great stuff, MashAllah

  23. and heyyy my mama has that ibn battuta book. cool guy mashallah.

  24. Thanks for the great post and well written words.  Quite frankly, I was kind of tired of reading and hearing all the ISNA hate.  So it was good to see a positive op on it.  Sure ISNA has lots of room for improvement as everyone knows, but like you said, good outweighs the bad in many ways. 
    I know for one I’ve benefitted from the convention growing up, especially since I live in Alabama (enough said).  Knowing that there were a whole lot more Muslims out there than my tiny town, it was exciting as a kid.  It was something my siblings and I looked forward to every year.  My sister was motivated to start wearing hijab several years ago after attending one ISNA.  It was through her courage that I decided to start as well.  I met one of my best friends today through the ISNA venue.  I could go on, but I’ll end it there.  But if at least one person benefits from the gathering every year, like I have, I see good in it that offsets some of the bad that comes from it.
    And I was glad to see ISNA take a stand against some of the shadiness that goes on during the weekend.  Insha’Allah, they will continue to work on these issues to make the convention better for everyone.
    p.s.  Nice recitation at one of the MSA lectures.

  25. Anonymous permalink

    salaam,wow. very well put, masha’Allah. i like the optimistic/positive attitude.don’t hate the sinner, hate the sin. so true.thank God someone’s looking on the bright side. couldn’t agree more.was salaam,faiza =)

  26. Did ISNA pay you to write this article?Just playing man, this was solid stuff, I hope the haters are reading this and taking notes.

  27. Finally, someone willing to stand up for the rest of us =)

  28. kr: that was cold bro….why the hate bro….i’m still in a rush (i’m serious)….but what I just read on bonny_n_clide’s xanga about 10 pregnancies at ISNA last year just freaked me out….just hope it aint true….

  29. Salaam… ISNA has to be one of the best experiences throughout the entire year… And Im Missing It Already…

  30. God your entries are long.  And the only time I ever went to ISNA was last year for an hour, so I don’t know what the whole “lobby” thing is about, but I agree with your point that it’s not the convention, it’s the people.  Maybe if people weren’t constantly caught up in other people’s actions they could go and benefit and that would be the end of it.   

  31. Salaam…
    well written KR….
    i guess all negativity aside…we have to take into account that a lot of us take for granted that we live in a big city such a chicago (the SA node as per KR’s prevous post…) and have access to great scholars on a normal basis.
    a lot of people who live in smaller cities dont have these opportunities…and ISNA is a time for them to get that exposure to many such scholars in a short period of time… 
    so i def. agree that ISNA is important in helping to bridge some gaps that exist…and like you said…we should be working to make this a better situation instead of sitting and bashing it…
    just my 2cents.
    -farooq

  32. “…we crave acceptance by our peers.”so truei should use this quote for my essay

  33. Hmm…
    you know? I am starting to regret that you made featured content…because due to my habitual thoroughness, and fear of stating someone else’s idea again… I actually read through all of the comments… some of which were LONG… ugh.  But, as you will find, my thoroughness sometimes pays off with some of the most thought provoking, mind twisting, ethereal rhetoric ever- or else; just worthless, hyped up psychobabble.  Pray we end up with the first.
    First off, this is a fairly nice expose on the ISNA issue, and the idea of worthless critique, which you compounded later into lasting infamy with the Rock’s “know your role, and shut your mouth.” Well done, mA.
    Overall, I feel you on many of your points, but I also agree with one of your commentors who spoke of the incorrectness of standing by when there is a problem- rather, it is obligatory for you to find a solution, if you haven’t the strength for this, find someone who does.  You didn’t touch too much on the solution of the problems at ISNA, but that wasn’t the point of the article, so nothing wrong there.
    Now for a chilling observation… you said, “—the irony here being that nihilism is a post-modern worldview and thus should be completely antithetical to a Muslim rooted in tradition. Simply stated, nihilism preaches that the destruction of existing political and social institutions is necessary for future improvement; my point is that this mentality never reared its ugly head in traditional Muslim discussions until now.”
    I must dissent, it did rear its ugly head before, and the shocking consequences have plagued this Ummah for what is going on 90 years now… Back during WW1, and directly before it, there were people in the Arabian Peninsula who sold this idea to the ignorant masses… and what did it lead to?  It led to the very consulate appointed by the Ottoman Sultanate revolting against Muslim control of the holy land, in favor of a puppet regime, in which his sons would hold positions of power and prestige in arabia, all the while allowing the Kuffar to hold the strings.  All in the name of what? Nihilist reform, in favor of the “Modern” european control.  This all led to the facade regimes, the splitting of the holy land, the modern state of Israel… and most of all the fall of the last Khalifate.  Was it a Khalifate? Yes.  Was it corrupt?  Yes.  Could we have benefitted more by reforming it from within, deposing the Sultan and reinstating true Islamic rule?  Yes.  But this isn’t what happened, what happened instead, was a wicked sharp plan set into motion by Britain, influenced by the early zionist movement (they tend to look further ahead than muslims these last few hundred years) where they would send a few spies (read-lawrence of arabia) to offer a dirty group of arabs an offer they couldn’t refuse… i.e. a few million sterling pounds, and rights to the spoils after they commit the greatest act of treason against Islam this Ummah has ever had the infortune to see.  Turkish soldiers were attacked from both sides… British, from the egyptian theatre, and “The Arab Revolt” army from the East… they thought like heroes, but Alas! in death Allah (SwT) takes witnesses from amongst us.  I still faintly smell their blood.  So next time you hear a bunch of Arabs belly-aching about Israel- tell them maybe their ancestors helped bring it about.  Mention “Al-Thaur Al-Arabiya Al-Kubraa” (the great arab revolt) and watch jaws drop and mouths go dry.  Ah, the Turkish Sultanate (much like ISNA today), they were the victims of the first act of nihilism this Ummah experienced, and they know better than anyone, but then forgot once Mustafa Kamal showed marked military brilliance- as a secular operator.  Why do things fall in place like this?  Signs of the Times.
    Okay, now that we are back to the issue (sorry about that, but I am sure you will benefit from the above some day, and I am here, I can see the progeny of the traitors, the aftermath, the outlook… things are ugly these days.)… you make a good point about “being cool”  its usually the cool people who are fooled into taking hell-bait, only then do they realize their coolness was synonymous with foolishness.  Indeed.
    I realize the tremendous potential of ISNA… what other organization has been able to rally 30 thousand muslims in one spot?  The questions is, are the intelligent amongst us going to harness this potential wisely.  I think we have a chance.
    salaamalaikumwarahmatullahiwabarakatu.
    “If before battle, you realize your enemy could possibly take your sword from you and turn it against you, what do you do?  Do you throw your sword away and run in bare-handed?  No… you hold on tighter.  Like ISNA, all you empty critics, don’t throw it away, hold on tighter.”

  34. *they fought like heroes… lol, im sure they “thought” like heroes too. hahha.
    consulate=Sharif Hussein, the visier of the haramain and surrounding areas (bilad sham, palestine etc.) appointed by the Ottoman Sultanate… they sure regret it though.
    “Sharif” Hussein, Saddam Hussein, Abdullah Hussein, Late Hussein the second… connections.

  35. Anonymous permalink

    Have I mentioned that I once thought that perhaps shutting down the ISNA convention just to combat its problems, i.e. club isna would solve that problem. The problem would only resume if ISNA were to relaunch again.
    plus its true that ISNA convention serves more good than bad and in the general eyes its name isnt associated with club isna as much as it is in the eyes of college/high school kids.
    I still think that perhaps ISNA should turn over a bunch of their responsiblities over to us, perhaps work together with MSA on solving the club ISNA theme, (i’ve heard that shutting down the Hyatt lobby per ISNA request would be entertained by Hyatt just cuz we book 99% of the hotel that weekend).
    Also on a side note, ISNA should turn over all their speaker hospitality responsibilities to MSA just cuz they do a better job of it.
    (p.s. I still didnt give you any eprops cuz you are not worthy of them)

  36. I agree with pretty all your points except #4. I don’t think that ISNA really is all that accurate of a sampling of the Muslim population in America. Rather, I would say it’s an accurate sampling of Muslim Americans that are:
    1) Rich2) Not busy3) Live close to Chicago4) Too religious to come
    Sure #2 is obvious, but #1 needs to be considered greatly. Islamic conventions seem like they’re only available for the middle class. I know that there will be a whole bunch of not-so-well-off people that will pay $100 or so for registration, but how many Muslims in our country can’t afford that? I would think it’s fair to say its a pretty significant percentage. And that’s just registration. Anyone outside of the Chicagoland area is looking to spend at LEAST $50 for a means to get to the convention. $50 for people driving up to 4 hours away, and at least $100 for anyone flying in. Then there’s hotel rates, expensive as hell bad food from the bazaar, all of those factors.
    We living in Chicago sure have it easy. We just drive to that CTA parking lot and don’t end up having to spend that much compared to people from other states. Heck, all we gotta do is volunteer and we’ll have everything taken care of us. But how many people do we know in Chicagoland that wouldn’t go just based on economic factors. Then the rest of the nation???
    So #3. I know I’m forgetting the people that make the big trip without really being as close to Chicago as I’m making ISNA’s attendees to be. I met people from other countries, myself (though that’s not really a part of your point #4, Kamran, as you were referring to just our national Muslim American population. But just the fact like this year a family friend of ours in Ohio decided to come this year proves this theory. It was their “first time going to ISNA.” Since it’s pretty much always been in Chicago, to me it showed that not everyone can or will make the trip out here for the convention. It’s pretty darn far for the majority of Muslim Americans.
    And #4 exists. Hehe.
    Yeah, so your point 4 is an interesting notion, but I really don’t think it’s all that correct in saying that it’s an accurate sampling. It is way skewed. By the way, I’m currently sitting in stats class :). Hehehehe.

  37. Hisham, cry it up.

  38. And by rich, I meant middle-class. They’re rich in relative to our starving brothers and sisters in Niger. Please everyone make dua for them and come to the Islamic Relief dinner at IFS on… is it September 24th? October 24th?? I think September. Whatever, everyone who lives in Chicagoland… COME!!!

  39. Anonymous permalink

    Assalam Alaikum,There is a great upside to those who attend ISNA without a doubt, especially with the right intention. A few of the IONA members who attended ISNA spoke with their leadership about the problem in the lobby, and the club event. InshAllah, they will do something about it; we are hoping and praying that it’ll get better every ISNA. But when their leadership tells you that they have the money and man-power to stop it, but will not, for the sole reason that they are afraid to be labeled as ‘fundamentalists’, that tells you a lot. Therefore, those movements and organizations, at every ISNA, should work together to creatively eradicate this image that’s being portrayed to the Muslims and American society (if the media is around), and bring up a solution for those in the lobbies and clubbers. Other than that, ISNA needs to stop worrying about the blame of the blamers, and do what is just. Overall, I enjoyed my time at ISNA and think its a great opportunity for those who are da’ees unto Allah, reverts, people of knowledge, revolutionaries, and all the categories that exist.Take Care,Samir

  40. Assalamuialikum
    You know waht you’re sooooo right! i guess i didn’t think clear enough. i know you left a comment on my xanga, but i didn’t read it yet. Al though, i did read your post and i kinda regret posting up that entry. I guess waht i shouldve done was really point out the negatives in the convention instead of making it look like i was bashing out about it. If i do look at the big picture, its a whole better place. i mean i knew the greatness of this convention, but i guesss i didn’t want to share those ideas b/c of the concern i ahd with the problems. I think i should put out a post about what I thought out and what the real deal about the convention is. i apologize, i was tracked in with all the haters. I mean come on . . . i helped and worrked at ISNA!! and im hating on it?? really, i dont think that post was on me hating ISNA, it was more like the problems i saw and how it got me concerned. but thank you so muchh for opening up my head a lil more. now that i think about it, ISNA is one of the hugest gatherings (next to Hajj) that Muslims get out there! my fault on that onee… ok thenn take care!! Keep me in ur duas, im in college now!! Wasalamuilaikum.

  41. Anonymous permalink

    hahaah!!!! kr on featured content….kr for ISNA president! mabrook nigga(stuffing a ladoo in yo mouf)

  42. Anonymous permalink

    nice post. isna really is a great service to the muslim ummah.

  43. yeaaahhh….you’re famous!

  44. Anonymous permalink

    Asalamualaikum,JazakAllah huKhair br.kamran. -Najeebah

  45. Anonymous permalink

    holy crap! you made featured content!

  46. Anonymous permalink

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
    http://www.xanga.com/anikin5
    http://www.ramadanproject.com
    We do not want this to be an unsuccessful UIC MSA event.  And insha’Allah if we have Allah (SWT) on our side, it cannot.  But our faith waivers because of lack of experience.  I kindly ask that you put a post, or part of a post about Ramadan Project.  At least explain what we should be doing in Shaban, Lailatul Baraat (don’t know exact name), how preparation is good.  How community is good (RP aims to build it).  Poetry and singing may not be everyone’s thing, but qirat and Saad Quadri I think are.
    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

  47. Salaams.. niiiice post… and lol, featured content, W00T! 😛 
    But really, in thinking about this lobbying problem (and others among it)… is not part of the problem here that there is not enough organization?  There is no “government” (using that term lightly… sorta).  I’m just daydreaming here, I suppose.. but if we as the American Muslim community could manage to link more – the “heads” of masjids in the same city/county/state were networking more and whatnot, then wouldn’t it be easier to brainstorm solutions?  As the situation stands, there seem to be numerous organizations trying to spread out and grow, but just generally are known in one area.
    It’s laaaate… so question… was it a guess or deductive reasoning for you to wish me luck in =undergrad= studies?

  48. props on the well written entry, even though i never went to an isna convention.

  49. Ahh yes.. I did say COLLEGE… but I did not say that I was an undergrad… *wink* 

  50. Anonymous permalink

    thanks for the random eprops.  i had no idea the first lady said such things.  another thing to think about and then get angry.  Salaam. 

  51. Thank you KamKam for that beautiful defense of ISNA.  The lobby problem was less this year, partly because Naseeb took all the naughty squirrels for its afterparties at clubs…
    I miss the lobby!

  52. you’re so sexy. Did you get my postcard?

  53. Anonymous permalink

    Salaams wrwb,
    I think this post has started a really good discussion, and it shouldn’t stop here. For those that are interested in working towards progress on this issue (and I agree, it’s not just “The Lobby” but a greater issue at hand), I think a discussion group/task force is something that could be developed. Perhaps a group of individuals that can be trained in leadership skills…or working with other people that can come up with innovative ways to resolve these issues, not just at ISNA but ideas that can be taken back to their communities as well. Just some thoughts…I was sitting with a group of my friends at the ISNA main session on Sunday night of the convention, and this is all we talked about…how things could be made better..at ISNA, in our communities, in our MSA’s…what we were lacking and how improving certain things at the convention could be the basis for improvement in all other areas. So yeah…”Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.” -Malcolm X

  54. Anonymous permalink

    thanks for the comment. nice hadith. by the way, whenever i see your profile pic, i have this weird feeling that you actually look like that. not that the pic’s weird or anything. nice lookin guy – i’m sure he gets the ladies everytime.

  55. Anonymous permalink

    wow…featured content?  I guess I missed a lot this week since I’ve been sick…but damn son…I’m proud of you…you’re doing the N.F.L. good…that’s why you’re my right hand nigga…
    *makes the sign of the N.F.L. with his hand*
    there…now you have my blessing…
    now we gotta get me on featured content…
    nigger-ul-haq

  56. Hate the sin…dont hate the sinner
    …nice

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