Last night (Saturday 1/05/08) we met for yet another ground breaking “Islamic Salon” gathering which we call THE MAJLIS, wherein we discussed the movie The Great Debaters. What words can I muster to describe the conclave? Engaging? Thought provoking? Inspirational? It was all of the above and so much more. I came away from the evening convinced that we’ve hit upon the right formula to satisfy our social and intellectual needs as Muslims living in America. Without fear of exaggeration or hyperbole, this was big, really big!
I simply can’t remember attending anything like this assemblage since my entering Islam, where in the course of discussing a Hollywood film, Muslims were allowed to freely express their views on any number of topics in the most respectful, sophisticated, and even spirited manner. Al humdulillah it was a great night! Admittedly the discussion did at times stray from the movie’s themes, but that’s OK too because it only highlighted the passion and excitement fueling some of the participants. Even I was moved to get a little “preachy” (which of course is not hard for me to do). But what made the dialogue so beautiful was the diversity of the people assembled, who, though mostly African-American, were a nice mix of Pakistani, Somali, Sierra Leone, and Egyptian Americans, all engaged in a no-holds-barred give and take. There was also a perfectly balanced blend of scholarly erudition and everyday, anecdotal commentary, which had the effect of keeping the conversation on the ground as it were.
And here is the best part of it all. By Allah’s grace the entire session was professionally recorded and highlights will be posted hopefully within a week (inshallah).
Finally, I would like to issue an apology to all the people who wanted to attend but due to space and privacy concerns, had to be turned away. Apparently many of my readers have fallen in love with this Islamic Salon concept, and are already demanding to know when the next one will be. The answer is very soon. However, because of the high number of requests I’ve received from people wanting to participate, we must secure a larger, more public facility. If anyone would like to attend the next session of THE MAJLIS, please email me promptly because the next session is going to be hot, a pre-Black History Month special!