By Adil James, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
Jackson–October 20–MAJC is pronounced â€œmagic,â€ and the magic of MAJC was evident Saturday night in the generous welcome offered to local non-Muslims by this especially well-connected Muslim community.
The event included singing performances by children, explanations of what it is to be Muslim, a warm atmosphere and fine food. Prominent people were present, including Michigan House Representative Marty Griffin (D-64th), who spoke very briefly and warmly to thank MAJC for hosting him.
Another speaker was Mrs. Gumar Husain, a social activist from Kalamazoo, described her understanding of marriage in Islam, describing it as a contract between two individuals. She described womenâ€™s rights in Islam, explaining â€œwhat she earns is hers to keep and she shares in her husbandâ€™s earnings too.â€
She looked at the audience and pointedly said to them, â€œIsnâ€™t that more than equal rights for women in Islam,â€ and the audience applauded.
In a brief interview with TMO, the Accountant Khawaja Ikram explained his happiness with this yearâ€™s MAJC event. Ikram is one of the main movers behind the MAJC community; he explained that the turnout was very good this weekend. â€œWe ordered 300 seats and they are all full.â€
â€œWhen we started not very many people came. This year for the first time 250 people RSVPâ€™dâ€ on their own that they would be coming. This he explains is a sign of progress, when compared with the first year when the MAJC community had to make a point of calling back all of those invited to make sure they would come.
About 300 people were present for the evening, about half of those who came were Muslim, and of the Muslims about half were actually from the Jackson community–the other half were composed in large part of members of the Ann Arbor Muslim community.
MAJCâ€™s regular mosque is a converted two-story house–not large enough to entertain the hundreds of guests who attend this post-Eid â€œIntroduction to Islamâ€ banquet that MAJC holds. Therefore the event is held at local Jackson Community College.
The food for the event was provided by Kazi Catering from Rochester-and although the food was identifiably from the subcontinent and somewhat spicy, MAJC representatives explained to the guests of the evening that they had specifically asked for the food not to be too spicy.
Dr. Manzar Rajput, also of the MAJC community, explained that â€œWe are very proud to be Muslimâ€ and he expressed his happiness to be a part of the American and Jackson communities. â€œWe are happy with the turnout–we have been doing this for 6 years and every year is better than the last.â€
MAJC also runs an annual event in which it feeds homeless people on one night at Thanksgiving time. Another ongoing program the mosque conducts is to provide support to a community of about 30 Uzbek families who have come to Jackson as refugees and are living without much support, jobs, or even knowledge of the English language.