OUR first Latino Speaking tour took off with many unexpected difficulties but many beautiful Muslims from Florida and California helped us to pull it off. We also learned valuable lessons from our shortcomings.
First, a BIG KUDOS goes to Imam Ali Siddiqui, Imam Benjamin Perez and Br Mario Nunez. It's just impossible to state how grateful we are! These wonderful brothers left deep impressions wherever they went.
On Friday, Nov. 10, 2006, Imam Ali Siddiqui delivered Friday Khutbah at the Masjid al-Qassam, in Tampa, on the topic of "Seven Steps for the Development of an Islamic Community". Over 1,000 in the congregation listened to Imam's Khutbah with enthusiasm and later circled around him to ask questions. It was a great start in the life of a new Muslimah who heard the first Friday Khutbah of her new life. She later commented that she was really moved with the Imam's Khutbah.
In Tampa, Dr Mohammad Sultan of ISTABA Masjid and his team organized a very successful OPEN HOUSE on Saturday, November 11, where over 850 non-Muslims gathered to learn about Islam. Imam Ali Siddiqui, Sh. Yusuf Estes, Imam Benjamin Perez and Br Mario Nunez spoke. The program was videotaped by the Istaba Masjid for later distribution.
A Muslim community radio program, "Focus on Faith," also taped the program for later airing on AM 1340.
Br Ahmad Howeedy and the team of Project Downtown, which consists of students from the University of Southern Florida, organized the most fulfilling event of the entire trip! Imam Ali Siddiqui, Imam Benjamin Perez and Br Mario Nunez actively participated in food distribution and sat down with the homeless and talked with them. Imam Siddiqui was also instrumental in making connections with the Rector of Downtown Tampa's Catholic Church to include Muslims in the upcoming conference on the Homeless Crisis.
In Miami, Sr. Melissa Matos, along with Muslim Students Association at the University of Miami, Coral Gable Campus, organized a very successful program where Imam Ali Siddiqui spoke on Andalucia and the History of Islam in the Americas, and Imam Benjamin Perez and Br Mario Nunez spoke about their journey to Islam. The program was videotaped by the university and a community TV/Radio program to be aired later.
Thanks to the Tampa Latino sisters who assisted in so many ways and will continue to meet under the banner of PIEDAD for Dawah training and Social services to the community. We hope they will network with sisters from Miami and Fort Lauderdale whom we reconnected with, as well as the new ones we met.
Thanks to Sr. Melissa Matos of Miami, whose priceless assistance was integral to the success of the program.
TAKBIR to sister Nathalia, New Muslimah from Fort Lauderdale who drove down to meet us. Last, but definitely not least, Brs. Samir Kakli, Amir and Rafael, who gave so much of themselves for our success: We remain indebted to you. May Almighty Allah reward all of you!
The program at the University of Miami was also attended by Prof. Jamil of Southern Texas University, who is involved in research on the social impact of Islam on Latinos in the USA and Latin America as well.
Report by Sr. Khadijah, PIEDAD (Taqwa) Coordinator, Florida and Br. Mario Nunez, Director of California Latino Muslim Association.