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  • NNC 5:03 AM on October 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Danish Husain   

    “Education is the Great Equalizer” 

    Soon after we were all sitting in the living room and chatting in Inayat’s house, a knock came from the door and two African American males entered. Inayat introduced Anthony and Ian to us – they were half-brothers who were originally from Florida. Anthony was wearing a red ECKO sweatshirt and I thought he may have played football since he had a big upper body. Ian was a little shorter than his brother and was wearing a black Fox Racing sweatshirt and seemed a little softer spoken than Anthony. Both had converted to Islam, with Ian following his older brother’s footsteps.

    During the time in Inayat’s house I did not interact much with the two brothers, but when we went to the restaurant I ended up sitting next to them which provided the perfect opportunity to get to know them more. I asked Anthony if he was a fan of the Orlando Magic or the Miami Heat. “Neither,” he said, explaining he wasn’t a big sports fan. I told him that surprised me since he was black. We both shared a laughed, and I knew this was acceptable to say since Anthony was poking fun at this earlier in Inayat’s house. I then asked Anthony what activities he was into – with his reply being gymnastics, since exercises such as hanging on the rings works out all parts of his upper body.

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  • NNC 11:55 AM on October 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Danish Husain   

    Leaving Empty, Coming Back Enlightened 

    Our first stop as soon as we entered Charlotte, North Carolina was Masjid Ash-Shaheed. Although a primarily African-American Masjid, the followers there were welcoming to anybody and greeted our group with arms wide open. After leading the prayer, Imam Khalil Akbar spoke words of wisdom to the Islamic Community and also discussed upcoming events for the Ash-Shaheed Mosque. During this time Imam Khalil made us stand up and introduce ourselves to the Charlotte community; I could feel this group of people was very affable and embracing. Imam Khalil encouraged the members of the community to approach us after his talk and discuss their stories with us, and they sure did.

    After Imam Khalil’s talk, separate conversations ensued. A man named Ali Akbar introduced himself to me and we talked at great length. Ali was a 62 year old African American who was originally from Harlem, New York. He was raised only by his foster mother in a Baptist family, with five of his extended family members being ministers themselves. He finished high school by the age of 17 and he said he wanted to know he was a “free spirit.” He was tired of the chains that had bounded him to New York and he wanted to get away – which is why he enrolled in the military. His training took him south of the Mason-Dixon Line into parts of Georgia and South Carolina, where his eyes began to open. Before leaving New York, Ali says he “didn’t know what was happening in the world. I thought the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. was big just because he was a human being. I never knew it was because he was a leader for the blacks.” According to Ali, he knew no such as thing as ‘racism’ where he grew up in New York. It was only when he went to the South for his military training did he become fully aware of the Civil Rights Movement.

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    • Nusaibah 12:39 PM on October 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      This was a really good piece! I’m glad you learned a lot but still acknowledged that there is much more to him that he didn’t share. The part about him not knowing of the Civil Rights Movement until he went down South stuck out with me most. I wonder how much is going on in the world that we don’t choose to read about that will, in the future, be significant events of history.

  • NNC 1:13 AM on October 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Danish Husain   

    Wall Street to the Basilica 

    After waking up later than expected, we drove to Asheville and spent time inside the Islamic Center of Asheville. Although no one was present, we were able to pray as a group, interact with the whole group present, and decide where our next destination was to be. The Nomads of North Carolina were able to enter the Masjid since the Sister’s door was open, and even with no one present I felt comfortable being there. This might be partly due to Islam unifying and creating trust amongst all the brothers and sisters in the world, where one is always welcome into another’s Masjid. It is a good feeling though – it made me feel part of something larger and greater.

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