By Hanifa Shaikh
On the evening of the 7th of April, between 250 and 300 people gathered for a Charlotte Community Interfaith Potluck and Mosque Tour at the Islamic Center of Greater Charlotte (ISGC). The gathering included approximately 80 to 100 non-Muslim guests. The event was organized by Charlotte Humans and the UNC Muslim Students Association (MSA). The host, as well as the keynote speaker for the evening, was ISGC Imam Atif Chaudhry. There was also a message of support delivered by Julia Lopez on behalf of U.S. Congresswoman Alma Adams.
Eric Bostic, a member of Charlotte Humans, was the evening’s emcee. He explained that Charlotte Humans is a new organization formed during the airport protest against President Trump’s “Muslim ban.” The organization is working hard toward a more positive and progressive future. Charlotte Humans Seeks to build a coalition of support from within the Charlotte community by organizing more events with other progressive organizations and houses of worship.
In his speech, Imam Atif emphasized the need to come together as a community. He stated that Muslims are part of the local community,making positive contributions to society. “We are not outsiders… we are not foreigners… we are not aliens.” Imam Atif also touched on the uneven reaction from the public and the media, who strongly condemn attacks against Americans or westerners, but do not show the same level of outrage against attacks on people of another color, race, or creed. He concluded that we as a society need to get to know each other better in order to build trust and mutual respect. By doing this we will conquer fear and hatred.
Friday evening’s program was well received by most. Many of the guests enjoyed the food and conversations, learning a little more about each other. American Islamic Outreach was on hand with an information table and translations of the Noble Qur’an for those who had more questions about Islam and Muslims. During the dinner, there was a new sister who took the Shahadah (testimony of faith) on stage.
ISGC is planning to host an interfaith iftaar (breaking of the fast) this coming Ramadan, sometime in early June.