About 600 community members and guests gathered at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center on March 9, 2013 to celebrate Dar Al-Hijrah's 30 year anniversary. Special guests including founding members, government officials, and inter-faith partners were on hand to witness and also testify to the growth and contributions of the community, one of the largest and most active in the United States.
The Muslim Link attended the event and captured some of the history for our readers. -- TML
Some of Dar Al-Hijrah's founding members are recognized at the 30th anniversary banquet. A small group of families purchased the old house on the Dar Al-Hijrah property in the early 1980s. About 30 people used to attend the juma' prayer during those early years. A video showing photos from the early years was played at the banquet. From right, Exec. Comm. President Dr. Mohamed Helmi, Dr. Bassam Estawani, Samir Salah, Dr. Anwar Hajjaj, and Dr. Abdallah Elsheikh.
Former Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA) addressed guests, reminding them of the challenges they surmounted to obtain permits to build the masjid in the 1990s. Parking challenges have plagued the community from the start; a church that allowed Dar Al-Hijrah use of their parking lot received much thanks at the dinner.
Described as a "long-time friend" of Dar Al-Hijrah, Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) Tom Davis (R-VA) received one of the loudest welcomes of the evening from guests who appreciated his outspokenness and his intolerance of bigotry and hate. Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross also got a warm welcome from organizers. She applauded Dar Al-Hijrah for "moving from a place of worship to a place of service" over the last 30 years,
Zaki Barzinji accepts an award on behalf of his grandfather Dr. Jamal Barzinji who is one of the founding members of Dar Al-Hijrah. The award recognizes the many decades of support he and his family invested in Dar Al-Hijrah. At left is Imam Johari Abdul-Malik who served as MC for the evening.
These "little angels" from the Dar Al-Hijrah weekend school recited the Qur'an with excellent tajweed and melody to the delight and amazement of guests.
Keynote speaker Dr. Raghib Elsergany, a scholar of Islamic history and popular throughout the Arab world, gave examples of how early Muslims supporterd their masjid. Dr. Altaf Hussain conducted the fundraising. About $185,000 was raised with an additional $100,000 pledged as a long-term investment for Dar Al-Hijrah. A 1957 Thunderbird valued at about $30,000 was also donated