It was a sunny afternoon on Friday that quickly turned into rain, but right in time for the Muslim Community Mosque to defeat the Farmington Hills Police Department at the third annual volleyball match barbeque.
For the third year in a row, the Muslim Community Mosque, also known as the Islamic Cultural Association, welcomed the mayor of Farmington Hills, many wonderful individuals from the school board, and the Farmington Hills Police Department for a volleyball match, followed by a fresh barbeque. It was a pretty heated game, with some fierce and experienced players, along with not so experienced others just there to have some fun with the team.
After everyone enjoyed a delicious barbeque and dessert, a few welcoming remarks along with special acknowledgments and appreciation were given. There were plenty of handshakes, laughs, and smiles shared across individuals from various backgrounds, cultures, and religions. The mayor of Farmington Hills, Dr. Ken Massey, said a few inspirational words about the importance of unity in the community. The heavy rain that began to pour did not stop many from playing volleyball, although the official match has been complete for the year. It was beyond just a volleyball match though, and more than just good kabob or hummus. This event builds bridges and brings the community together at an incredible level. It was truly a beautiful scene, with endless smiles and lots of good laughs from both old and new friends.
“We hope the good food helps you get over the loss,” said Imran Salha, the new imam of the mosque, as the attendees roared into laughter. Nonetheless, it was about more than just tasty food, and farfetched beyond a volleyball match. It was an event that brought together the community, in order to work together in building unity.
“Next year I’d like to see some vegetable curry,” said Paul from the University of Michigan, as he laughed and thanked the Muslim Community Mosque for a beautiful gathering.
The Muslim Community Mosque, also known as the Islamic Cultural Association, of Farmington Hills, was founded by a group of families who hoped to establish an Islamic community that modeled their beliefs and values. In 1987, the community purchased the Franklin Building and moved to its present location. Two years later, it established the prestigious Huda School which has flourished over the years. The ICA created a weekend Arabic School, Dar-al Huda. The ICA has continued to grow and expand, offering its members an Islamic environment where they can feel at home and raise their children with hearts at ease. Since its inception, the ICA has held various school and family functions for the occasions that matter most to its members—such as Ramadan and Eid—as well as exciting activities for the whole family. It has also prided itself in offering weekly Islamic and educational lectures and maintaining a youth program that has been going strong for years. The ICA hopes to continue to expand by offering more services that the community can benefit from.
We were honored to interview Afroz Khan, the outreach committee director at the Muslim Community Mosque, on her experience with this year’s annual barbeque and volleyball match.
By far what’s your favorite part of the volleyball barbeque?
“I enjoy the volleyball game and the delicious food a lot, but my favorite part really is getting our community together, making new friends and catching up with old ones.”
What do you most enjoy about being the outreach committee chair?
“Being the outreach chair has given me the opportunity to work with really amazing people within our masjid and outside. I am grateful to the board, the executive committee, and the members of MCM for trusting me, and supporting me in my outreach efforts. It has been such a rewarding experience working together with people from different races, religions, ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds for the greater good. It has made my life richer, and I’m still learning…..”
This annual volleyball barbeque has been occurring for three years thus far. What first initiated the idea for you to execute this?
“From the beginning, our goal has been to be an integral part of the community at large. We had talked about having a barbecue and inviting our neighbors to get to know each other. We had also committed to sponsoring a dinner for south Oakland Shelter when they were hosted by our neighbors at North Congregational Church. In December of 2015, when tensions were running high due to the backlash against Muslims, the mayor of Farmington Hills Dr. Ken Massey, and our police chief Chuck Nebus met with the representatives of the local Muslim community to listen to our concerns, and to assure our safety and security. Chief Nebus suggested a friendly game between the police department and our masjid as a means of developing better community relations. Alhamdulillah, we were able to combine the three ideas into a single fun event that brought everyone together. And InshaAllah this will become a long-standing tradition!”
How does it feel to win the game this year?
“It’s always fun no matter who wins, but it sure feels good to win! I’m thankful to our police officers and our members who came out to play after a hard day’s work. Some of them were still playing in the rain after the official game was over!”
As for now, there’s an entire year for both teams to practice some volleyball skills in order to prepare for some competitive fun next summer. Prior to that however, are many amazing outreach events that will bring many of these attendees together, such as soup kitchen volunteering, interfaith camps, and much more.
Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.