In the blazing summer heat of Sunday July 31st, around 450-500 people flocked to Borher Park to attend the Ramadan fundraiser for the Islamic Center of Maryland. ICM is planning to build an ambitious and large new community center, and the $76,000 raised at the event will go towards its development.
Around three hours before the event over twenty volunteers (many of them being youth) came to help set up and prepare for the event. The volunteers set tables, checked the sound systems, and the speakers began preparing. As iftar time approached, Muslims from the ICM community slowly began crowding the area. While money was being brought in ICM projected the total amount raised on a wall for all to see.
Shafiq Ahmed, the youth leader at ICM, led the event and described how he felt everyone appreciated the event because of the transparency of the ICM board. Several speakers from the board took the microphone to greet the audience. ICM Imam Jamil Dasti also took the microphone to describe and show pictures of the future mosque’s design. Dasti illustrated in detail an elegant community center with kitchens, new classrooms, and a large gym. After maghrib prayer everyone rushed to get in lines for the generous iftar.
Zaid Bilgrami, a youth leader at ICM, spoke about how this facility, with its large sports capabilities, would help the Muslim youth become more connected to their masjid community. ICM has emphasized many times that this project is for the youth, so how do the youth feel about this?
Azeem Ghauri, a rising senior at Northwest High School, said, “I am excited for ICM's future plans. I think the new facilities look appealing...” Ghauri goes on to explain that once the Muslim community succeeds in building this center, it will attract not only Muslims but also others in the community because it will show what Muslims can accomplish together. Ghauri is a long time member of the ICM community and says that he has supported it through many fundraisers in the past. Although Ghauri does believe that the progress project is making at the moment is slow, but he says things will pick up soon. He said, “I enjoyed the event because it was a chance for me to support the future of ICM.”
Saad Abbasi is rising junior at Wootton High School who volunteers often at ICM fundraisers and donates “to be a part of this wonderful project.” Abbasi says that he is excited for the new project because it will allow for the masjid to become a more youth friendly environment which will allow young Muslims “to develop spiritually, mentally, and physically.” Abbasi says the new facilities are appealing because they will have the latest technology.
Overall the large ICM community enjoyed the successful event and ICM plans to do more fundraisers like this in the future. ICM usually does fundraisers three times a year, one in spring, one in the beginning of Ramadan, and one of the 27th night of Ramadan. Each fundraiser will bring the community closer and closer to the building and opening of the new mosque facility.