By Susan Schwartz
Islamic Relief, one of the worldâ€™s most far reaching and effective charities, presented an â€œEvening of Inspirationâ€ on Sunday at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, California. The event played to a sold out theater as did its four predecessor events in New Brunswick,New Jersey, Chicago, Dallas and Detroit.
Three thousand people attended this fundraiser, part comedy, part music and all inspiration. Leading performers from the world of Islamic cultural entertainment thrilled and inspired the attendees. Before the program was well under way, the audience and the performers had bonded as one.
This marks the third year of â€œEvening of Inspirationâ€ which seeks to raise funds for children around the world. The presentation and the performance of the artists reached a level of perfection and quality rarely seen in the entertainment industry.
Sami Yusuf and Native Deen have formed the infrastructure of the â€œEvening of Inspirationâ€ since its inception. Sami Yusuf, still in his twenties, is a devout British Muslim, born into a musical family of Azeri origin.He has studied music with renowned composers and musicians including some from the Royal Academy of Music in London. He sees his music as a method of promoting the message of Islam. He may be accessed at: www.samiyusuf.com.
Native Deen consists of three people: Joshua Salaam, Abdul-Malik, and Naeem Mohammed. All three young men have performed before Muslim youth groups including Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA); Muslim Kids Club of Baltimore; and Muslim Youth Council of DC.
These three young Muslims write, produce and perform music with their devotion to Islam as their driving force. They may be accessed at: www.nativedeen.com.
Sunday eveningâ€™s event featured a slightly altered cast. Mohammed Amer, one of three comedic talents featured in these events, was the Master of Ceremonies and brought the audience to non-stop laughter with his comedy routine. His emphasisâ€”no doubt familiar to all in the audienceâ€”was on his adventures with his Palestinian mother.
A special appearance by Shaikh Sadullah Khan of the Islamic Center of Irvine was an excellent addition to the evening. Shaikh Khan sang beautifully before a screen which showed images of the Islamic world.
A British Muslim known by the professional name of Nazil, with six backup singers from Manchester England brought the audience to its feet with their performance. Islam is their inspiration and their message and they may be accessed at: www.awakening.org for music and books.
Islamic Relief has offices throughout the United States and the world. Locally they are now located in Buena Park.
Islamic Relief is a community based organization. They have expertise in education and training; water and sanitation; orphanâ€™s welfare and health and nutrition, to name but a small number of their specialties. Whether responding to natural disasters or political upheaval, Islamic relief is anywhere and everywhere where people are suffering. â€¢