A visitor looks at the IONA display of prominent Muslim Americans.
Warrenâ€”September 13â€”IONA is a mosque that has been quietly thriving, tucked in a corner in between the larger prosperous Detroit suburbs and the more easterly suburbs. Saturday it had a health fair and open house, and was able to showcase some of the new space it has recently purchased.
The event began at 10AM, and the emphasis of the event seemed to be the Open House, which had as its theme the contributions of American Muslims to the United States (citing such influential people as (among others) Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Robert Crane (who was the chief foreign policy advisor to Richard Nixon and later converted to Islam).
A table at the center of the open area near the entrance of the mosque beckoned with a small poster telling about Sayyida Maryamâ€™s being fed dates by God. The table also contained several different kinds of dates for visitors to eat.
About 90 people visited the health fair, which had 9 volunteer doctors. St. Johnâ€™s Hospital provided blood tests for diabetes, hemoglobin and SGOT. The Red Cross held a blood drive which was unfortunately not quite as successful as they had hoped, with 12 blood donations (their target had been 22).
To the north of the mosque used to lay a strip mall, which has now been purchased by the mosque. The large parking lot of the strip mall was the scene for the health fair. There were many booths (22 of them, according to mosque officials), each one costing only $50 to the vendors. Traditional clothing was available, and excellent food of all different kinds including hot dogs, hamburgers, and also Indian and Pakistani food. Even electronics were on sale, at the Spicemart booth, especially Jadoo TV.
Now that IONA has bought the plaza, they have made good use of it. One room is a cafeteria; there is a community service center, staffed by medical personnel on regular intervals, providing free doctor visits and pharmaceuticals. One room is a funeral prep roomâ€”it will provide free funeral preparations to all Muslims who need it in the Detroit area, it has engaged the services of expert men and expert women to perform the necessary duties. Another room is a youth room, another is a babysitting room, for use during mosque events. The youth room hosts 120 kids every Thursday, with lectures and sports, including â€œIslam 101.â€
Wahid Rashid, the general secretary of IONA, provided an excellent tour of the bazaar and plaza, and expressed his pleasure at the excellent success of the IONA open house and medical fair of 2014.