An Overview of the 1993 First North American Muslim Pow Wow
by Sheila Musaji
During the last weekend of June 1993, the first ever North American Muslim Pow Wow was held at Dar al Islam in New Mexico. Three hundred Muslims came together from all over the U.S. and Canada. This was a grassroots effort in which the participants themselves shared in the planning and implementation and even pitched in to cook, serve, clean, watch children, teach whatever they were able, haul water, collect trash. Some even came ahead of time and dug holes for outhouses and put together structures on which tarps could be stretched for meeting areas. This was a labor of love.
The theme of this Pow Wow was “tolerance” based on the Our’anic verse “We have made you tribes and nations so that you might know one another.” In North America we have an unusual situation. We have Muslims who have come here from every country on earth as well as a population of “native-born” Muslims (converts and 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation Muslims). Estimates of our total numbers range from 2 to 11 million Muslims. We have at least 1 ,500 Islamic Centers/Masjids, perhaps 50 magazines and newspapers (as well as hundreds of small newsletters) and another 1 ,500 special purpose organizations. There are numerous federations of centers and organizations (e.g.ISNA, ICNA, Ministry of W.D. Muhammad, National Community of Jamil al Amin, AMANA, NASIMCO, etc.) as well as ideological groups (e.g. Jamaat al Muslimeen, Jamaat Islami, etc.) and numerous Tariqas (Jerrahi, Naqshabandi, Bawa Mohiuddin Fellowship, etc.). There is a National Shura Council currently being established, but it includes only the leadership of 4 of these groups. There are also a number of groups who consider themselves Muslims but whose beliefs. interpretations or practices are questioned by at least some of the Muslim Ummah.
In addition to all of this, for the first time in North America, the number of “native-born” Muslims is greater than the number of immigrant Muslims. In the last 5 years this native-born group has begun to become aware of itself and to make connections with each other. Small “support groups” and fledgling publications have begun to appear. On college campuses an interesting phenomenon is developing which appears to be a manifestation of this new demographic reality - the MSA’s are in many cases splitting into two separate groups - one primarily foreign students and one students who were born and/or raised here.
Looking at the overall picture it would seem that we have a population of Muslims that is or soon will be the second largest religious group in North America. Many existing institutions are nevertheless unable to exert much political or social pressure. We have not been able to establish good communication and networking between the various groups that would allow for cooperative, and more productive effort on matters of common interest.
The goal of the first North American Muslim Pow Wow was to bring together Muslims who are rooted in the soil of North America, and who in defining and living their Islam face not only the challenges common to all members of the Ummah here, but also face challenges specific to their own American cultural heritage. It was our hope that we could come together with open minds and open hearts with a spirit of compassion for the struggle that each of us has been through to get to this place. If we could ‘declare a truce’ and give ourselves a chance to get to know each other without criticism or trying to ‘set each other straight’, we might be able to discover how we can use those things that are different about us to our benefit as an Ummah. We might create a situation where we can draw on each other’s strengths and cover each other’s weaknesses.
The program was planned so that any individual or organization who wished could give a presentation, demonstration, seminar, class, speech, whatever -and times for these special events were scheduled. So many had something to share that there was so much going on simultaneously that participants had some hard choices to make. Many complained that they wanted to be in more than one place at a time. All of the decisions about format, topics to be discussed, etc. were made by the participants themselves.
There were three aspects of this gathering that were most noticeable: the diversity of the group; the incredible beauty and vastness of the landscape; the simplicity and limitations of the physical accommodations. These could have been seen as either a trial or a blessing. and in fact were seen by different individuals as both. I choose to see them as tests.
DIVERSITY. As people began to arrive, it became obvious that God had blessed us with the presence of brothers and sisters representing a cross-section of the Ummah in North America. Not only were many ethnic, racial, and cultural groups represented, but also Sunni and Shia, various madhabs and tariqas. ideologies and organizations. It was fascinating to see tennis shoes, cowboy boots, bare feet, champals, turbans, cowboy hats, hijab. straw hats, daputtas, shalwar, lungi, jeans, thobes, dashikis. serapes, robes and all sorts of wondrous mixtures of these various elements. It was a visual kaleidoscope.
As people registered and set up their tents and began the process of ‘getting to know one another” there were in the beginning some very tense moments. A few individuals were overwhelmed by the diversity and had somehow not gotten the message that this was the whole point of this gathering. For them the presence of “those people” provoked hostility.
This might have become a situation that caused us to lose sight of our intention and goal but it turned out to be a test and a blessing to the gathering as a whole. It was a very clear manifestation of a very real problem in our communities. At Islamic centers, Eid gatherings, conventions, wherever Muslims gather. there will be a very few who do not understand or accept that the Muslim community in America is not homogenous. who want to impose their own cultural or personal interpretation or manifestation of Islam on everyone else. In their zeal to enforce one aspect of the Sunnah on another Muslim they violate other equally important aspects in their own behavior and often overlook their own personal shortcomings in regard to the Sunnah. Many of the discussions focused on what was seen by the native-born participants as a refusal by some of the immigrant Muslims to respect and include them in community leadership. Sectarianism in all forms (ethnic, cultural, racial, ideological) was discussed as one of the primary issues holding the entire American Muslim community back. However, the primary division raised that must be solved was that between the native-born Muslims and immigrant Muslims. Most of the native-born saw this as a serious issue, and many of the immigrant Muslims saw it as simply a temporary issue.
These individuals in their effort to straighten everyone else out sometimes use methods that are more reminiscent of the methods of the Inquisition and the Crusades than of the Prophet or the Sahaba. However, the overwhelming majority of those present had come together with open minds and hearts. They were so intent and focused on the stated goals of this gathering - opening dialogue between various groups of Muslims and attempting to find common ground on which to build alliances and cooperation - that these few negative individuals were very simply overwhelmed in a tide of goodwill. Very lovingly but very firmly, they were stopped from bringing their disharmony and disunity to cast a shadow on this gathering.
LOCATION. The high desert is a special place. The sand and wind wear away all but the hardest stone of the mountains. It seems when you I look at it that everything has been removed except the essential. All of the elements that soften and blur distinctions in easier environments have been removed. The plants and animals and even the forces of nature are exposed and visible here, more than anyplace else. Whatever life exists here is tough and adaptable. It is painfully obvious that resistance to the forces of nature and the order established by the creator is futile.
Regarding the location of the Pow Wow at Dar al’Islam, some words of one of the original founders convey the feeling of the place: Nurudin Durkee – There is a destiny to this work (the process of building Dar al’Islam, this emerging form appearing in time and yet out of time as though it had always been there and is only now reemerging on the mesa above the valley with the river running through, greening the land from the shining fingers of lateral irrigation ditches. That this form, secreted out of the native earth, is built not to occupy or dominate space but to create spaces; spaces that resonate with ancient memories of the chambers of the heart where arch lifts dome, and dome merges into dome, curved spaces rising and falling, vaulted corridors lifting the earth in tunnels of time ...and space for a new generation to worship their Creator and learn anew the time- less Way to walk in harmony and peace and thus fulfill the purpose for which we human beings have been created and brought to light.
PHYSICAL ACCOMMODATIONS. The comforts that could be provided were severely limited by the fact that the total amount of money collected from the participants was not enough to provide more than “survival” needs. However, this too turned into a blessing because it brought out qualities of leadership, sacrifice and sharing. Tolerance, patience, humbleness, simplicity, leadership, courtesy, sincerity are qualities that can only be truly appreciated in difficult circumstances. It was fascinating to see who were the individuals who stepped forward and took charge, who rolled up their sleeves and pitched in to do even the hardest work, who moved quickly to defuse difficult situations, who had diplomatic skills, who were the problem solvers, whose words and actions matched. We learned a lot about ourselves and about each other.
All three of these elements together created a real learning situation. There is a hadith in which the Prophet said that if you want to get to truly know a person, then live with that person for three days and three nights. We saw the truth of this firsthand. The combination of having such a variety of individuals living together under circumstances outside of the ordinary and the location of the gathering in the desert all had their effect on the human beings.
When people come together in a cosmetic setting where everything is comfortable and easy, they can maintain a facade. But when they come together on a mesa in New Mexico without all the modern conveniences and where the water table sometimes drops and they have to perform tayyamum instead of wudu and electric power is erratic, then, in the course of three days the real character of individuals comes out. People are exposed not only to others but also to themselves.
Somehow from all of this a tapestry was woven. The various strands, each unique, different colors and textures all came together to form a whole. People really talked and listened to each other and tried to understand not just the words but what was meant. The discussions often became so intense and real that people began to cry and to hug each other. One of the most interesting and most encouraging aspects of the discussions was that there was such a remarkable consensus of opinion. The terminology and phrasing were different but we were talking about the same things.
THE WORK AHEAD. There was a sense that there is a certain urgency to beginning work on the next phase of Islamic work in America. The last decade was the mosque building phase and the focus was on local communities and physical structures. We have now entered an Ummah/community building phase and the focus is on relationships and linking those communities and the individuals within communities. We must begin to build bridges, find common ground and connect the various elements of the community.
Some of the preliminary steps in this process were identified. Inclusiveness and openess are a necessary foundation in order for the diversity of the Ummah to be a strength and an advantage rather than a weakness and a liability. Developing a working Islamic vocabulary with mutually understood meanings for terms is part of the necessary foundation, as is identifying and analyzing our human and financial resources and linking these together through networking and cooperative effort.
Bringing together Muslims from various madhabs, tariqas, leaderships, ethnic groups, etc. to get to know one another, to engage in dialogue and to find common ground is the necessary first step that must be taken if we are to build any sort of an Ummah in North America. Many of the issues raised in discussion were sensitive and some may have been painful to have to face, nevertheless the overall tone was positive and hopeful. Something was accomplished. We have the nucleus of a group of people who see themselves rooted in this society and as having a stake in seeing to it that Islam becomes a vital movement within this society. We have people who are committed to bringing out in the open . . . the real issues that keep them from truly accepting each other as brothers and sisters and then doing something to change their own attitudes and responses – a jamaat who believes that Unity is possible and that it does not require conformity.
We know that we have external enemies, but they would have no power to manipulate, control and dominate the Muslims if we were not internally so divided, ignorant and intolerant. In the discussions a series of needs were identified. These are the same needs that we have heard stated at every meeting of Muslims. Insh’ Allah we will all think about what we experienced at the Pow Wow and begin to join hands with each other to work at a very practical level towards solving these problems and meeting these needs.
Did we succeed in doing what we set out to do? I believe we did. In the words of one of my sons: “It was good. In Chicago and St. Louis and Los Angeles on Eid there are a lot of Muslims that are in the same place at the same time. But here they were really together. It felt safe. It was like I could be who I am and no one would bother me. Like I was with my family.” (Arman Musaji, age 13)
REALITY THERAPY. The financial aspects of the PowWow point to a very real concern. Are we either willing or able to pay the physical or financial costs of creating an independent support and networking system? As of Thursday, the day before the Pow Wow began, we had pre-registration for only 68 participants and $1,230 in total deposits to pay for expenses, The total number of individuals actually in attendance was 352. The final total income was $4, 747. The necessary expenses budgeted for this number of people were $14, 119. Our total actual expenses were $8,014 (only because Dar al Islam did not charge us for the use of their facility, we cut back drastically on initial plans, and because of donations (a cow, a sheep, hot dogs, a truck load of hay, all the produce for meals for a nominal cost of $250, and $2,000 in expenses for pre-Pow Wow work absorbed by the American Muslim Support Group (AMSG)). We still came up $3,267 short on actual expenses and $9,372 short of needed expenses. Dar al Islam agreed to cover this shortage, which was very generous.
The records show that only: - 25% of the participants pre-registered. - 28% paid absolutely nothing. - 20% did most of the work. - 12% paid in full. - 53% paid partially. According to verbal and written evaluations received from the participants, the overwhelming majority believed this to have been a worthwhile event and want to do it again. Most suggested adding improvements to the facilities, adding to recreational activities, hiring a work crew to lessen the need for volunteers, and having more of the set-up done prior to the event.
All of this could be done. However, the reality is that someone would have to pay for doing these things. And, someone would have to do the necessary work and planning. If 81% of us cannot afford or do not feel it worthwhile or necessary to pay even a reasonable cost. If 55% of us are unable or unwilling to pitch in with the necessary work. If 75% of us cannot even fill in the registration form ahead of time to enable planners to do their job. And, if many of those who neither paid or worked could fill out an evaluation form requesting more and better facilities and services, then, perhaps we need to rethink our level of commitment, maturity, and readiness to attempt to establish and maintain alternative institutions.
These same difficulties plague much of the work of Muslim community building in America.
Prior to the Pow Wow Prof. Sulayman Nyang sent a letter which was published in TAM, and read to the participants in the opening gathering. You can read the full letter in Message to the Muslim People of the United States and Canada. Here are the opening passages:
Fellow Humanoids and fellow believers in the Holy Qur’an which describes in unrivaled language the Power and Glory of the Creator of the Universe, I take this opportunity to congratulate you on the first POW WOW of Muslims from across North America. This event is certainly historical. It is historical on three levels. It took place in a year when religious leaders from various parts of the world assembled in celebration of the centenary of the first Parliament of World’s Religions. We should recall that it was at the first parliament that Islam gained its first public articulation and representation by a native-born American citizen in a gathering drawn from across the planet. This representation of Islam by Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb at the Parliament of World’s Religions was the beginning of the recognition of the Islamic presence in North America. Your gathering in New Mexico should make Mr. Webb very pleased in his grave, for your coming together in defiance of the residual racism that still preoccupies the minds and lives of many fellow human beings in the u.s. and Canada, is a sign of change and the beginning of acceptance of the Islamic spirit among a small but growing body of North Americans.
This gathering is also significant and historical at another level. For the first time Muslims, regardless of race, color, country of origin, madhab and sectarian proclivities, have agreed to come together not to advance a single agenda of a national organization or group but for the sake of mutual understanding and mutual development. Whatever you do with this new beginning in inter-communal relationship is going to determine the future of the Muslim community in the U.S. Future historians writing about our community in the next century will remember the works and deeds of all of us who advocate tolerance and willingness to live and let live with others who may disagree with our interpretations of our common Islamic heritage. This gathering of Muslims in New Mexico is also historical because it is taking place amongst a people some of whose ancestors were possibly Muslims from Spain during the Post Columbian period. Whether this is the case or not, the fact remains that those intolerant elements in Spain of 1492 who wanted to eliminate Islam from the New World have been exposed by history as lacking in foresight, judgment and tolerance. What the Muslim presence in North America means for the future of humankind is a mystery known only to the Creator. However, as a human being endowed with an intellect and the power of reflection, I would speculate that the Creator perhaps did not want the American experiment to be incomplete because of the absence of Islam and other religious heritages of humankind. By adding the Muslims to the pot, whether melting or not, American society and her leaders have decided to embrace and share their mental and physical spaces with active and dynamic representatives from at least a fifth of humankind. This is something that deserves our attention and that of all others living in the U.S. and Canada.
Because Muslims in North America now number at least five million, it is imperative that they individually and collectively assume the responsibility of living Islam wherever they are and in whatever capacity they find themselves. North American society is not going to understand Muslims from textbooks. Islam, if it is ever going to be known beyond the confines of the mosque (masajid) and the Islamic center, must walk with the North American, chat with him, make a positive impression on him and show him the difference between the person who internalizes tawhid (unity of Allah) and those who see no higher meaning in what humans do and say in the social universe. Of course, I am not oblivious to the fact that there are many stereotypes against us, and the mainstream media in both Canada and the U.S. have not been very helpful to us as a minority, even though many of us often describe favorably the peoples of this part of the world as fair minded and sympathetic to underdogs. This sociological impression about North Americans has been shattered in the minds and hearts of many young Muslims who entertained it before their rude awakening from daily encounters with media and popular opinion.
If, however, we wish to change the negative imagery in exchange for a better one, two things must be done. First, Muslim leaders should sink their differences and develop collective action against prejudice and discrimination against Muslims. This can come about only through greater collaboration and greater appreciation of differences of opinion within the community. By recognizing the diversity in the larger community, Muslim leaders and individual members of the community can begin to assert themselves with dignity and pride. It is only after we have repaired the crumbling psychological walls within our household that we can build bridges linking us to the rest of America. What I have described elsewhere as “islandization” in the Muslim community in North America must be addressed. It is a sociological fact that clustering and spliterization of groups are two processes in social interaction among men and women. However, in order for us to make a significant impression on Americans and Canadians we must begin to see the negative consequences of clustering and splinterization. ...
1993 POW WOW DISCUSSION GROUPS
Prior to the gathering letters were sent out requesting suggestions about topics and format for formal sessions. The topics decided by consensus for the discussion groups were: 1) Shar’iah. 2) Media. 3) Divisive Issues. 4) Da’wah. 5) Ummah Building. 6) Family and Social Issues. We had begun with eleven topics, but some did not have enough people interested and some after discussion by the participants, joined together, because it seemed to them that the topics were very much interrelated.
As the idea of the Pow Wow was developed, a consensus about discussion groups emerged that “every member of each group would be an equal participant with something to contribute. How each group decided to structure that discussion was entirely in their hands. Leadership should develop out of the group interaction.”
There were a few individuals who fell that it was more productive to maintain a teacher/student or lecture format rather than this format, and there were individuals present that many people wanted to hear from directly. They were given the option of setting up a time for a “special event” and the time and place for that presentation would be posted on the bulletin board so that anyone who wished could attend. In this way both formats were facilitated.
At registration, all participants were given a sheet which included only two general guidelines:
One. Members of each group should: introduce themselves to each other in depth; relate their particular reason for selecting that topic (why they think it is important and what they hope to achieve, personally or as a group); select a secretary to take notes and to summarize and present each day’s discussion at the open forum; select a leader to keep the discussion moving and focused. Two. Attempt to come up with at least one or activity that is relevant and feasible with the existinq human and financial resources available to the various members of the group, and that the majority can: a) agree on the importance of; b) agree to work together cooperatively on achieving; c) believe they have the resources to accomplish; d) select a leader to coordinate; e) institute or establish a means of communication and set a time frame for accomplishing; and, e) assign or delegate responsibilities to accomplish.
The various groups had very different processes and methods, and the reports they gave were very different. The following reports were submitted by: Karima Altomare, Zahra Buttar, Bob Crane, Anas Coburn, Ali Comegys, and Shemim Siddiqui.
In some groups the key feature was the group process itself, in some it was the personal interaction, in others, the in-depth discussion of a particular issue. The Ummah Building group led by Anas Coburn used an abbreviated version of .a group process technique known as “Future Search”. There was a great deal of interest in and enthusiasm for this process within the group and also from the participants in the open forum who heard Anas give his summary reports. Many people asked for more information about this process and that description is the main feature of that group’s report. Much of what was reported was in the form of statements from participants in various discussions and some of those are given in the section, “Glimpses of the Pow Wow”.
DIVISIVE ISSUES GROUP — Many of the members of this group also attended the earlier workshop on Shar’iah, and the discussion continued and connected with that group’s discussion.
The issues that this group felt are most divisive within our communities in North America break down into the following categories:
1) Ideological differences, e.g. between various madhabs, tariqas and leaderships,
2) Cultural differences, e.g. the perceived differences between immigrant and indigenous (or Muslims who were born in America) Muslims and between Muslim immigrants from different countries.
3) Language differences, both between languages (e.g. Americans attempting to learn Arabic in order to understand Islam and immigrants attempting to learn English in order to understand and be understood in America) and between those who speak the same language but who do not share a common working Islamic vocabulary.
4) Differences of race, ethnic origin, nationality, economic class.
5) Differences between Muslims and other faiths, as well as between the interfaith community and the secular humanism of the modern west.
The issue that was discussed in most depth was: how can we effectively address these differences. In seeking guidelines we came up with the following points. We must stop our denial. We do not automatically shed our conditioning when we take Shahada. We do not immediately know how to be, nor are we tolerant of differences. Often tolerance is dependent on taking the risk of opening up, working with others, listening to others, and trying to learn from others. We all carry cultural baggage of individualism, racism and parochialism that shape our efforts to practice true Islam. We should think Of ourselves as Muslims first and all other classifications second. Tolerance should be seen as the first step on a path towards learning to treasure each other. Our diversity is our greatest challenge but can also be our greatest blessing if we succeed In learning to value each other.
ACTION TO BE TAKEN: We exchanged addresses and David Hadley volunteered to be the central contact for the group. We agreed to follow up this discussion by each putting together our thoughts about concrete actions to be taken, and after sharing these to try to identify a consensus on the most practical course to begin action.
SHAR’IAH GROUP — The Shar’iah discussion touched on general topics such as: the importance of defining boundaries; definitions of terms; whether or not Arabic is a requirement for understanding the issues; whether Islam is inclusive or exclusive. The topic that was discussed in most detail was the issue of the relationship between the Shar’iah and
Sufism. This issue is important in America simply because many Americans become Muslims because of what Islam has to offer spiritually, and without clarification of the boundaries their
spiritual search may well end up in the creation of pseudo-Islamic cults. The, points raised in this discussion were varied. Some perceived a conflict between the two which others thought might be merely a matter of definitions.
Some defined the Shar’iah very narrowly to consist only of a set of dogmatic rules constrained to the most narrow role of fiqh. Others thought that this might lead some individuals to conclude that since Shar’iah is the essence of Islam, therefore Islam is similarly limited and this would relegate Shar’iah to a minor role in Islamic thought and action. The issue was raised that historically there have been some Sufis who have taken as narrow a position by saying that they are above the superficial aspects of life and hence are not bound by the Shar’iah at all. Others said that this was an extreme position and not representative of “mainstream” Sufi thought.
The discussion then centered on the possibility of taking a more holistic approach than either of these extreme approaches (an approach first suggested by Ibn Taymiyah). This holistic approach might define Shar’iah as the shar or way of life that was taught by all the prophets and was developed by centuries of the world’s best minds into a paradigm of thought in the form of a hierarchy of purpose. At the top of this hierarchy are a half dozen universal principles (kulliyat or dururiyat - essentials and maqasid - purposes) which give meaning to a secondary level of goals (hajiyat) from which, in turn, all the more specific guidelines of the Shar’iah derive meaning. The rules and regulations of fiqh (or applied law) have meaning in relation to these higher purposes.
This holistic approach would include every aspect of morality as well as the spiritual essence of Islam and the ways to spiritual closeness to Allah (tazkiyah - way of purification). It would be possible to include in this tazkiyah the tariqat (paths) to enlightenment of the various Sufi orders. This holistic view of the Shar’iah would allow us to accept what is Islamic in Sufi thought and practice and reject what is un-Islamic. A Muslim following this holistic approach would not reject Sufism as such, any more than Sufis with this perspective would reject the Shar’iah as the governing paradigm for all human spiritual, social and political life.
This discussion did not result in a consensus and in fact points to the fact that many of the issues of Shar’iah interpretation are themselves divisive issues within the community.
DA’WAH GROUP — The Da’wah group was very meaningful. The majority of the participants were American Muslims who had accepted Islam as adults. On the very
first day, in the course of introductions, we shared what it was that brought us to Islam and we shared our personal difficulties since accepting Islam. Those of us who have chosen Islam
have received a great deal of oppression from various sources and it is important to be able to share that and deal with it.
One issue that came up created tension within our discussion group - some of us felt that within the immigrant Muslim community there are some who are also trying to sort out what is really Our’an and Sunnah and what is culture and to restructure their lives based on that awareness. But there are others who believe that their own culture is the only “correct” manifestation of Islam and this group in their attitudes and actions oppress other Muslims.
Native-born Muslims had a general feeling that among this group of immigrant Muslims a considerable number are not willing to accept them as equals. That the relationship between them had been established as almost parent/child. That the time had now come that Americans should begin to take charge of the Da’wah movement and take a more active role and that this was seen as a threat by some immigrants because they see their role as leading and teaching rather than as helping. This discussion caused a breakdown in communication because some of those present appeared to take this as an indictment or stereotype of all immigrant Muslims.
Raising these issues and admitting to these deep feelings was one step. Now we need to figure out how we can talk with each other about these feelings and work through them to some sort of relationship developed on a different foundation.
ACTION TO BE TAKEN: Sheila Musaji is working on putting together a special “Shahada edition” of The American Muslim magazine. This would have articles, personal stories, poetry, and practical information - e.g. a reading list of recommended books that are well written in plain English, and information about where to find information, get answers to questions of fiqh, etc.
We would like to get input and have as many of us who have “been there” work on putting this issue together as possible. If you have any ideas about what should be included, or particular books to recommend, please contact Sheila. We would like to put this all together and get it printed and have it available to be given to individuals when they say Shahada.
MEDIA GROUP — The media workshop after lengthy discussion decided that there were some important actions that needed to be taken in order to lay the foundation for future work. The consensus was that most existing Muslim media was not relevant to Muslims born and/or raised in America, and not relevant to non-Muslims. The existing media provides no counter to anti-Muslim propaganda.
ACTION TO BE TAKEN: First, we need to establish a network for media professionals in print and audio-visual media. This network would provide information as well as support and encouragement and opportunities to work cooperatively. The first step is to prepare a directory of Muslim media professionals to be distributed to all those listed in the directory. If you are
involved in any way in print, film or audio-visual media and would like to be listed in such a directory please send information about yourself to Sheila Musaji
Second, we need to produce a manual on “How to Use the Media Effectively”. Those in the workshop exchanged names and addresses and have agreed to work together and produce this manual. Aminah Assilmi has agreed to be the contact person. If you have input for this manual please contact Aminah at Dar al Islam.
Third, we need training classes and workshops for young people. Tehmina Khan would like to offer a media/art workshop for youth to give them a sense of how they are influenced by media and to give them an opportunity to work with media (film and print) directly so that they can understand that they can “make” media. She would like to make this a workshop project for the next gathering and actually have the young people do all of the documentation of the event. Those who are interested in working on this project or in participating contact Tehmina at AWAIR.
UMMAH/COMMUNITY BUILDING GROUP — In the “Ummah Building” group we used an abbreviated version of a group process technique known as “Future Search” Conferences. (There have been more than 500 search conferences held within corporations, cities, associations, and trade unions in dozens of countries since 1960.) After general introductions a handout was distributed which gave an introduction to the purpose and methodology of the process. Our purpose is to envision what we prefer to be the future of Islam in America. This includes both what Islam in America will be, and what Muslims of America will be doing. When people plan actions by working backward from what they really desire, they develop energy, enthusiasm, optimism, and high commitment (Linderman and Lippit, Choosing the Future You Prefer, 1979).
We can in a few hours, Insh’-Allah, initiate a process that can have a positive impact. While participants are welcome at anyone or all three sessions, the workshop is designed to progress from one session to the next. In order for this to happen, we need to adopt a discipline and structure that enable us to make optimal use of our time. Our discipline must be one of brevity and clear recognition of what is feasible in this brief time. This is hot a problem-solving workshop. It is a place for all of us to learn, gain awareness, and give mutual support. Each idea and comment is valid. We need not agree. This workshop is intended to be a task-focused meeting. Our focus is not on interpersonal relationships. Nor is it on discussion and persuasion. Rather, our task is to elicit insights that illumine the course we must take to realize our vision of Islam in America.
The structure of the workshop includes working alone, working in small groups, and presentations to the entire group. Our tasks are as follows: To identify and prioritize trends among
the Muslims of America and trends external to us which are shaping the future right now. To create scenarios of “preferred futures” for ourselves and our organizations: To reflect on actions to be taken, as a result of what we learn.
The first task of the group was to identify those negative trends or developments in the U.S. that are affecting the future of the Muslim Ummah here and now. Each member of the group worked individually to produce a list of these trends. Then each person spoke and the moderator noted the trends on large sheets of paper. The moderator adopted a stance of active listening and noted each group member’s input more or less in their own words. This first task provided the group with an opportunity to express their fears and worries and complaints about the situations in which the Muslims find themselves. At the same time, these mostly negative expressions were limited to a particular context within the group’s process. Once the group had the opportunity to express these concerns, it could move on.
The second task of the group was to identify those trends or developments they felt were most positive with regard to Islam in the U.S. The method used was the same as with the first
task, individual work followed by presentation of that work to the group. After reviewing the positive trends, the moderator previewed the next day’s task: to envision a preferred future for Islam in the U.S. about 10 years hence. Then the group adjourned for the day. The second session focused on the task of envisioning a preferred future for Islam in the U.S. The participants were arbitrarily divided into three groups. Taking into account the trends both positive and negative that had been identified, each group worked to identify as specifically as possible their vision. These specific statements were written down. This session allowed participants an opportunity to dream of what might be, with their dream influenced by the assessment of the current situation. The entire second session was devoted to this task. At the end of the session,. the moderator previewed the third and final session’s task: to work together to see what practical steps could be taken to move us toward our preferred future.
The third session had three parts. First, all the participants worked together to group the various vision statements into three broad categories. Then participants chose the category in which they were most interested and worked with others interested in that category to produce a short list of specific action items. Finally, each group made a presentation to the group as a whole.
ACTION TO BE TAKEN: Specific actions to bring us closer to our vision of Islam in America were listed in several categories. Some of these are already under way. Anas Coburn produced a proposal which the Dar al Islam Board accepted to sponsor a group process training at Dar al Islam in the next year. Preliminary contacts with conflict resolution and group process experts have already been made. Anas will spend some time exploring who is out there, then begin to set goals and the design process for the training itself. Input was taken from all of the discussion groups and the open forum and organized using a modified version of the classification the Ummah Building Group came up with. The complete text of this input is not included here.
We were fortunate to have so many who gave of their time and expertise to provide special events for all of us. There were Islamic Study sessions (Derse) led by various scholars: Sh. M. Nur Abdullah, Sh. El-Hussain Chauwat, Sh. Hisham Kabbani, Imam Fathi Ben Halim, Abu Munir Winkler, Prof. T.B. Irving. There was Naqshbandi Zhikr every evening led by Sh. Hisham Kabbani. Yusuf Siregar gave two demonstrations of the Islamic dance/martial art form of Silat. Naela Pettigen gave demonstrations of Tae Kwan Do. Audrey Shabazz and Tehmina Khan of AWAIR gave a workshop on their educational program “A Medieval Banquet in the Alhambra Palace”. Shabbir Mansuri gave a presentation on Islam in the public schools. Hattat Mohamed Zakariya gave presentations on “The art of Islamic calligraphy”. Yahya Emerick led hiking groups and an introduction to wilderness survival skills. Abdullah Hamza taught archery. Hassan Bilal demonstrated the art of blacksmithing, and gave a talk on permaculture and the technique of building a home from packed earth tires. Daniel Aabdal-Hayy more led poetry reading sessions. There was an interfaith visit to the Methodist Retreat at Ghost Ranch, a “henna party”, swimming trips to the Abiquiu Lake, lots of hiking, canoeing on the Chama River, horseback riding.
GLIMPSES OF THE POW WOW FROM A FEW PARTICIPANTS
Something of the essence of the gathering can be experienced by those who were not there from these comments made by participants. You can read more of these here
A’alia Djomehri - California – It was wonderful to see this dynamic group of Muslims together in such a beautiful setting. We all grew from having touched each other’s lives, even if it was for a brief moment in time. The theme of tolerance and open-mindedness set the tone for the whole camp and the test which presented itself to ! threaten that tolerance was dealt with masterfully.
Mustafa Kashief - Canada – This is something special and important that is happening here. It is an opportunity to get to know each other and analyze our resources and capabilities. At this Pow Wow I see a demonstration of how important it is for us to reach out to others with the message of Islamic tolerance and brotherhood. Islam is comprehensive and inclusive and those who preach segregation or separation are not preaching Islam. Go home and take this message back to your communities. There are psychological barriers between white people and black people, but they are artificial barriers and block both of us from achieving our goals. This gathering is proof that there are those on both sides who can see that we have common human issues and are ready to break down these false barriers and not allow anyone ever again to build them up and block us from sharing our i common humanity. We see here a demonstration of what is possible to those who know that all of us - black, white, hispanic, Indian, Arab, whatever - are family.
Ismael Mujahid - Missouri – I came here just to visit with other American Muslims and because of the stated goals of this gathering to promote unity and networking. Even before I ever heard of Islam, I came to understand that the only way to erase racism or any other bad trait is to recognize it in yourself, admit it and then work to eradicate it in your personality . It does no good to deny that you are a racist or overeater or whatever or to ” feel guilty about it without doing something about it. A function of Islam is to help you to step back from any slave mentality, e.g. nationalism is a slave mentality, racism is a slave mentality because they lead to and encourage division. As Malcolm X learned and shared -‘We should unite with those who want to unite with us.” This is what we are attempting to accomplish here.
Shaikh Hisham Kabbani - California – Instead of pointing out the mistakes of others - accept them and give them a good example and teach without telling them you are teaching them and they will learn from you. Don’t look at the mistakes of others - look at your own mistakes
Thomas B. Irving - Iowa – We need an educational system based on Islamic ideology and materials produced in plain English by Muslims. We cannot allow Orientalists to speak for us.
Sheila Musaji - Missouri – If we can have dialogue with non-Muslims. If Muslims may make alliances even with non-Muslims and in fact may make treaties allowing for peaceful coexistence even with enemies - then why is it not possible, even in the worst case scenario where one group of Muslims believes another group to be kaffar or mushrik to at least make a treaty and in most cases where the differences are perceived to be less profound to actually establish alliances and coalitions. Why do we think that unity is sameness. We don’t have to be the same in order to be united - we just need to discover whatever common ground there is and build on that.
Karima Altomare - Washington, DC – American society is already a very divided society - by race, sex, and class - add to this the divisions between indigenous and immigrant, between various cultures, madhabs and tariqas, between the wealthy and poor and also the divisions between Muslims and non-Muslims and throw in a consider- able amount of denial and the naive assumption that if we take Shahada it will all go away and somehow be all right and we have a real problem. We have to make a committment to a process and work hard towards changing this situation. We must come together and provide support fur each other so that we do not succumb to the tendency to give up and simply go back to the seeming safety of our own groups rather than face this overwhelming challenge. Perhaps our next gathering should actually encourage more groups to come and each present their own views for consideration and understanding.
Anonymous note left in evaluation box – Perhaps the theme of the nexl gathering should go beyond this yeas theme of “tolerance” and go one step forward to “love”.
Shaikh Muhammad Nur Abdullah - Missouri – Talk to each other and we cannot help but see that we have more in common than we have differences. As Muslims there are hundreds of things we agree on and very few things we disagree on. We should concentrate on the Qur’an and sunnah and not what we find in Egypt or Pakistan or Sudan. We have to be shoulder to shoulder. We have to solve our problems with love because we are facing enough challenges from outside without tearing each other apart. Knowledge alone isn’t enough. Remember, even Iblis has knowledge. He knows what is right and wrong but he does not act on it; We must work hard to overcome our differences and to try to bring the Ummah together. We need humbleness and gentleness and a willingness to admit the possibility that we may be mistaken on some point or that we might not understand the actions of another fully.
Shaikh el-Hossein Chauwat -Washington. DC – The prophet warned the Ummah against disunity, fIghting and disputing in a negative manner. He stressed the brotherhood of Muslims.
Abdullah Hamza - Navajo Nation – Islam is very simple. Hear and obey and you will prosper. Don’t obey and you will suffer. So simple. But, if we look at the state of the world today it is obvious that most do not hear or obey. Muslims today are like a big snake sitting on a treasure chest (Islam) and frightening other people away. Whoever wants to make Dawah right away - come back with me to the Navajo nation to make Dawah to my people and to help me to build a masjid on the Navajo nation for my people. The way to do Dawah is by action - come judgment day I want to say yes, they not only smiled when I asked them to help, but they did some thing about it - and remember that we have to be very careful about how we spread Islam - those who have ears to hear will know what I am saying. With a minimum of effort Allah will Insh’Allah assist us with helping us to fulfill our responsibility - we have to do better than what we are doing because the Ummah is fast asleep and we had better wake up. We are living in the time of the attempt to establish a new world order without religion and we had better do something about it.
Mary Romero -Illinois – What I enjoyed most was the experience of working together to do what needed to be done. I wish that this kind of a gathering could be part of our lives all the time rather than just an isolated incident.
Shabbir Mansuri - California – It was quite interesting to hear from American-bom Muslims about their particular needs, views, and aspirations. Certainly, the challenges faced by those who have entered the fold of Islam through conviction are important. I also found it enlightening to view Muslims at Dar al Islam as living examples of the dynamics of Islam, showing how Islam is something that should permeate one’s self and one’s mindset, rather than being simply a set of codes and rules, as some Muslims portray it to be. When I saw some brothers using their talents to quickly construct a shade for the bazaar, it brought to mind the pioneering spirit which played a role in building America, and I see this act as a pioneering effort to build a strong foundation of Islam in the U.S. Thus, I hope and pray that such a Pow Wow becomes an annual event, since it brings out the best Muslim spirit.
Imam Taha Tawil (Imam of the “mother mosque”) - Iowa – American Muslims can play a special role in bridging the gulf between cultures within the Muslim community and between Muslims and non-Muslims here. The only way to build bridges of love and understanding is through communication and by participating more within the society.
Hoda Boyer -Illinois – Many people of different cultural, ethnic and intellectual backgrounds participated in the open discussions; and, consequently, many varied, sometimes seemingly divergent views were represented. It is my hope that these differing views are like the five fingers, each of which has its own characteristics and functions, yet all of which are united in the overall working of the hand. May we as Muslims be one hand and one heart for the love of the One God.
Mahboob Khan -California – I have been to conferences for twelve years, but this is the first gathering in which I have seen real sincerity, openness and genuine Islamic spirit.
Ali John Comegys -Wisconsin – Our differences should neither be dismissed as trivial, nor exaggerated so as to seem unsolvable or requiring generations to overcome. Logical and sustained programmatic educational efforts drawing on the most diverse members of the Ummah and all institutions could be encouraged to take up this cause. Much misunderstanding seems to arise from differences between working from broad principles to conduct and vice versa. Americans often work from more universal principles, such as religious toleration and the universality of Islam. Foreign born Muslims often work from specific practices to general principles. Even in the absence of differing interpretations of scripture, the conclusions drawn and judgments made may often be extremely different. The average American Muslim is the recipient of a history in which religious toleration as the solution to problems (e.g. incredibly destructive European religious wars and the flight of so many to America to escape persecution) of a multi-religious society is a highly valued principle. They are also aware that this toleration is fragile and difficult to maintain, and that each new minority has historically had to go through a period of political and eco- I nomic development on their way to i acceptance as a group by the body of ! other Americans. Such acceptance has always been the result of struggle. Foreign born Muslims tend to see American Muslims as not quite “real” Muslims, more as children to be tutored than as equal members of the Ummah. This may manifest towards African-American Muslims due to lingering racism promoted by Western colonizers and learned by Western educated Muslims. This may manifest towards Euro-American Muslims because of lingering resentment of Western colonization, or because the bulk of white American Muslims are women. The trials to be overcome by American Muslims are so great that the simple fact of taking the Shahada and attempting to follow the Sharia, which is often very difficult and alien, should b respected as evidence of commitment.
Yahya Monastra -Washington. DC – For me, one of the best aspects of the Pow Wow was getting to meet and befriend so many good people. I have never in my life seen such a wide diversity of different kinds of Muslims. It was truly extraordinary, when I reflect on it. What a warm feeling it gives to my soul, to think of the enrichment it will bring during what remains of my life being in contact with these people and looking forward to meeting them again. Let alone Dar al Islam, the land of New Mexico itself was love at first sight.
Mohamed Zakariya -Virginia To me. the big achievement of the Pow Wow was that it actually happened, and worked as well as it did. This proves that it is needed and that can be done again. It seems we are moving from talk to realization. By and large, it was a candy store, everyone was delighted and a bit overwhelmed. Now that we know it can be done, let’s try to fine-tune it next time around. Also, let’s not forget one of the lesson just learned - these kinds of meeting can be fun. The other side of the coin was also pretty evident. Sowers of venomous discord and hatemongers should stay home next time. In my opinion, the divisive issues forum did not work well because the very important topics that were barely spoken were brushed aside and nothing got decided. Time needs to to be spent on this topic. We didn’t need born-again authoritarians herding us past our difficulties like sheep. We need to figure out right away whether we want to become a clone of some bankrupt old-world style dictatorship, or try to become something more grown up. I believe that the most important discussion was that of Shaikh Muhammad Nur Abdullah, in his talk about Waqfs. This is indeed what needs to be done and it can set our mosques free from dependence on government handouts.
Anas Cobum - New Mexico – For me, one of the most important aspects of the Pow Wow was the chance to meet with members of groups with widely divergent points of view. It is important that Muslims make the effort to come together with Muslims that hold differing points of view in order to celebrate all that we hold in commom, and compete with each other in courtesy and acts of kindness. When individuals share their knowledge and their viewpoints, admit their limitations and speak their hearts with courtesy and sincerity ignorance and falsehood diminish and knowledge and mercy can spread among us, even among individuals with very different points of view. I saw such occasions at the PowWow. The act of treating those with whom we disagree with sincere courtesy constitutes the practice of important Islamic principles. But, if we avoid “other” Muslims or speak ill of them (or , to them), we weaken whatever position we hold in the difference between us. My heart was lifted by seeing so many brothers and sisters engaged in the struggle to hear and appreciate differences. This, to me, was unity - not unity of point of view , not uniform attainment of an ideal of courtesy, but unity in the sincere struggle to hear and appreciate each other. It is not the case that our differences do not matter, or that no important principles are at stake. But I submit that if there is unity in the sincere struggle to hear and appreciate each other then Mercy will spread among us, Truth will appear, and falsehood will disappear, Insh’Allah.
Khalid Mohsan Shah - Missouri – We take back with us many precious memories of meetings with wonderful Muslims and also many lessons learned from many beautiful words and acts of wisdom. The three days went without any serious disharmony, even though the circumstances were very difficult and most of us were not used to the spartan conditions. But the difficulties somehow, Alhumdullilah, brought the best out in people and made us come closer together.
There were also a number of individuals who were unable to attend. but sent emails and personal comments, and even materials to distribute to the group. Some quotes from these individuals - are relevant -and it is interesting that even though they were not physically present they were on the same “wave length” as the group.
Shaikh Daud Ahmed - Washington – Muslim America is made up of several almost mutually exclusive populations of Muslims, each with its ratio. nale for disregard of the others as well as its own internal schisms, failures to apprehend the nature of the political processes both of Islam and of America, and systems of excuses from the duty of participation in common struggle. either within their communities or in league with other communities. Historical nationalistic rivalries, class and racial prejudices, personal ambitions and elitist pretensions, as well as ignorance of Islam as a living religion, obstruct effective policy efforts throughout the entire spectrum.
Sulayman Nyang -Washington. DC The American reality makes it necessary to develop dialogue between Muslims and between Muslims and non-Muslims. The North American manifestation of Islam will necessarily be different from the Middle East paradigm. We have to accept the fact that we are diverse and come to terms with that diversity which cannot be wished away.
UPDATES - IN MEMORIAM
Some of those who participated the the Pow Wow have passed away. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un — Surely we belong to God, and to Him shall we return.
“From the (earth) did We Create you, and into it Shall We return you, And from it shall We Bring you out once again.” (The Qu’ran, 20:55)
Prof. T. B. Irving passed away in 2002. He was a treasure of the North American Muslim community and will be greatly missed.
Khadijah Rivera, founder of PIEDAD, an organization for Latina Muslims passed away in 2009. She founded PIEDAD in 1988 and from it grew many other Latino Muslim organizations. She was an inspiration to all of us who knew her.
Imam Benjamin Perez, President of CALMA (California Latino Medical Association), passed away in 2009. He was one of the early Hispanic converts in the Bay area. He came to Sunni Islam after first joining the NOI in 1957.
Aminah Assilmi, passed away in 2010. Yahiya Emerick, another Pow Wow participant wrote a message on her memorial page that said: “It is with great sadness that I learned of this tremendous loss for our Ummah. I met Sr. Aminah in New Mexico at the first Muslim PowWow back around 1993 or so. She was so gracious and dignified in her bearing, even as she had no qualms about getting her hands dirty with the rest of us “pioneers.” I actually had the pleasure of riding “shotgun” in her pickup truck as we drove some camp participants to a swimming hole, not far from the masjid there in Abiquiu. We talked about what it meant to be a Muslim and she really had some deep insights about life, family and what it was all about. As a young twenty-something convert, she immediately seemed like a mentor figure to me. I only saw her once or twice in later years at conventions, and her beaming face always struck me as that of an angel, if any person could ever be so. I pray for her safe and honorable entry into a world of joy without end and inshallah I hope her family can continue in her noble example. Ameen.” She was the key person behind getting a U.S. Eid postage stamp published, a stamp designed by another Pow Wow participant, Hattat Mohamed Zakaria.
UPDATE: Looking back at the North American Muslim Pow Wows
The consensus of the participants in the 1993 First North American Muslim Pow Wow was that we should do this again. Dar al Islam agreed to host a second gathering in 1994, and the Dar al Islam staff were the primary organizers. Hakim Archuletta and Anas Coburn were the co-coordinators. The 1994 Second North American Muslim Pow Wow was more structured. There were still open forums with opportunities for open interaction, but more emphasis on formal presentations by scholars. Presentations were made by Dr. ‘Abd al ‘Alim Palmer, Dr. Bashir Ahmed, Dr. Sophia Momand, Dr. Abu Munir Winkel, Sh. Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Besa Mazhar Krasnigi. The program topics were decided by the coordinators: 1. Building indigenous Islamic communities from the bottom up. 2. The extent and limits of tolerance. 3. Home-grown leadership. 4. it’s great to be Muslim. 5. Muslim men and women (gender issues). 6. Family roles reversed. 7. Muslim impact on American mainstream. 8. Healing separation in the Umma. 9. The role of art and the artist in American Islam. There was a third 1995 North American Muslim Pow Wow in 1995, but I was unable to attend, and don’t have details.
The seeds planted by these Pow Wows have led to many positive efforts.
Dar al Islam expanded its facilities and added dormitories, showers, a kitchen and could offer more retreats and programs including teacher workshops, and Deen Intensives which they began holding in 1996. The Deen Intensive model developed by Dar al Islam and Zaytuna has since been replicated throughout the world.
Most importantly, individuals were able to meet and network with others with common interests in order to work cooperatively. For example, in an interview with Asra Nemati of IslamiCity, Imam Zaid Shakir said: I first met Shaykh Hamza in 1993 at one of the Muslim pow-wows he and a few other people had orchestrated in New Mexico to bring Muslims of various approaches together for a week-long camp. I didn’t have a deep acquaintance with him, but I met him again at a MAYA (Muslim Arab Youth Association) conference in Detroit, where we were both speaking. We shared a panel in an English speaking session (the program being primarily in Arabic) and I got to chat with him briefly. When I was studying in Syria, I was invited to a couple of the Zaytuna conferences. I would come back and forth from Syria and would meet him. Then I started teaching at some of the Deen Intensives, primarily the ones that were held in New Mexico, and then one that was held in Calgary, where I got to spend more time with Shaykh Hamza.
The American Muslim published a greatly expanded 1994 Resource Directory of Islam in America which included much more networking information as well as a list of recommended books. These were suggestions that came out of the discussions. Many individuals contributed to this booklist including Alan Godlas, Daniel Abdal-Hayy More, Abu Munir Winkel, Robert D Crane, Gray Henry, Jamal Eluias, Jeffrey Lang, Kabbir Helminski, Michael Wolfe, Vincent Cornell, Yahya Monastra, Sheila Musaji, etc. When TAM went online that list of recommended books became part of the site (and has been updated). TAM has continued to collect information, interviews, biographies, etc. of particular interest to converts, and if you type converts into the TAM search engine 115 articles will come up. Many Pow Wow participants have contributed to the online publication.
The later pow wows moved in a different direction than the first. The original concept was “bottom up” development, participant led direction. The organizers were facilitators, not directors. The subsequent gatherings were much more organizer directed, and the movement can be said to have “fizzled out” at least on the level of having regular gatherings. I am not certain if such a gathering could happen again.
Afterthoughts on the 1993 North American Muslim Pow Wow: With Twin Sandals of Fear and Hope, Hakim Archuletta http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/pow_wow_afterthoughts_on_the_1993_north_american_muslim_pow_wow_with_twin_s/
An Overview of The 1993 North American Muslim Pow Wow, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/pow_wow_an_overview_of_the_1993_north_american_muslim_pow_wow/
Dar al Islam: The Code and the Calling, William Tracy http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/198803/dar.al.-.islam-the.code.and.the.calling.htm
Glimpses of the 1993 North American Muslim Pow Wow, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/pow_wow_glimpses_of_the_1993_north_american_muslim_pow_wow/
In Memoriam: Aminah Assilmi http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_passing_of_aminah_assilmi
The Great Pow-Wow: American Muslims Come of Age, Dr. Robert D. Crane http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/pow_wow_the_great_pow_wow_american_muslims_come_of_age/
Message to the Muslim People of the United States and Canada, Sulayman Nyang http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/message_to_the_muslim_people_of_the_united_states_and_canada1/
My Experience of the 1993 North American Muslim Pow Wow, Mumina Kowalski http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/pow_wow_my_experience_of_the_1993_north_american_muslim_pow_wow/
POETRY: The American Muslim Powwow, Dr al-Islm, Abiquiu, New Mexico, 1414/1993, Yahya Monastra http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/poetry_the_american_muslim_powwow_dr_al_islm_abiquiu_new_mexico_1414_1993/
PHOTOS: 1. Cover of the special Pow Wow print edition of TAM. 2. Dar al Islam site in Abiquiu, N.M. 3., 4., 5. People setting up their accommodations. We only had a few rooms for a few special guests, everyone else had to provide their own places to stay. 6. Photo of opening gathering with Hakim Archuletta, Shaikh M. Hisham Kabbani, Prof. T.B. Irving, and Sheila Musaji. 7. Sheikh Muhammad Nur Abdullah giving a talk. 8. Hattat Mohamed Zakariya giving a talk on calligraphy. 9. Just hanging out and getting to know each other. 10. A native American family that stopped to visit and see what was going on.
Originally published in the January-March, Winter 1993 edition of the print edition of The American Muslim.