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The overwhelming presence of red that you saw on the election map on Tuesday night was most definitely not a stop sign. Absolutely not. It was and has become merely a manifestation that we, as Muslims, have so much work to do and the work needs to begin now. Where do we start? Let’s begin by becoming educated about knowing and practicing our rights, interacting with law enforcement, civic engagement, and the practice of justice in Islam as well as in the life of the Prophet (S.A.W). This upcoming weekend, The 8th Annual MAS Family Camp will be providing you with all of those things and more, God willing.
The Atlanta Chapter of MAS recognizes the importance of empowering the Atlanta Muslim population with the knowledge and confidence necessary to make changes within themselves and, ultimately, within the society that surrounds them. One of the methods that MAS - Atlanta employs in order to attain this objective is a family camp. Year after year, the Annual MAS Family Camp unites Atlanta Muslim families across various cultures and backgrounds to explore the realms of Islamic spirituality as well as instigate communal growth and development. This year’s MAS Camp, which is being held this weekend at Camp McIntosh at Indian Springs State Park, is no exception.
At a time when Muslims’ sense of security, belonging, and faith will be targeted due to Trump’s rhetoric, a camp that provides Atlanta Muslims the tools and religious basis to understand justice and unity and employ it within their communities is absolutely imperative.
Here are four of the many things you can expect at this camp:
1. You will be exposed to two outstanding speakers who will provide you with the tools you need to stand up for yourself, others, and incite communal unity and understanding
Gainesville Islamic Cultural Center’s very own Imam Bilal Ali will be speaking at the camp. Besides maintaining the ability to communicate and engage with both adult and youth audiences, Imam Bilal has experience in elevating an entire community. Working tirelessly since he converted to Islam in 1990, Imam Bilal has set up various programs to prevent drug usage, teen pregnancies, unemployment, and gang behavior in Gainesville. He has always participated in political activism, starting off with being a spokesman of the Gainesville NAACP chapter and now maintains excellent relations with the mayor, police chief, fire chief, jail warden, and other officials.
Brother Edward Ahmed Mitchell will also be speaking at the camp. A graduate from Georgetown Law, Br. Edward is currently an attorney for and the Executive Director of CAIR GA (Council on American-Islamic Relations in Georgia). CAIR is America’s largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group and seeks to be a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding. Before working for CAIR, Br. Edward was a prosecutor for the City of Atlanta and a freelance reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC). Along with his involvement with CAIR, Br. Edward is a writer and copy editor for AtlantaMuslim.com and a board member of the Islamic Community Center of Atlanta. He will provide MAS Camp attendees with a proper understanding of how to communicate with law enforcement, one’s rights, and how to effectively respond to Islamophobia.
2. You will get to support/ experience an entirely youth planned and led camp, urging the future leaders of The United States of America forward.
Now, this may make you nervous. Don’t be! MAS Camp has been youth led for many years now, receives great feedback from camp attendees of all ages, and continues to improve year after year. The camp’s planning team consists of very impressive young individuals with qualifying experience and backgrounds along with MAS-Atlanta’s President for adult mentoring and guidance. An exciting change to the makeup of the camp’s planning team is that the 17-20 year-olds of the original planning team have joined forces with Boy Scouts Troop 12 to provide you with an excellent, tactical, focused, and meaningful experience. Supporting a youth led initiative is also incredibly important because it sets the standard for the local Muslim youth (whether that be you or your children) to be advocates and utilize their abilities to the full extent for the betterment of society.
3. You will get to experience a getaway from life without losing productivity
After this election, your brain is probably fried. What can be better than a getaway at a location with no possible way to access any media about the election? Basically, nothing. However, it does not stop there. A lack of access to media urges camp attendees to think critically about the political and social state of the country as well as the future and helps attendees formulate a feasible, organized response. While the camp experience will be a well deserved break from daily life, it will most definitely engage and stimulate your thoughts, feelings, and actions. It is a head start that we so desperately need.
4. You will get the opportunity to develop brotherhood and sisterhood, which will serve as a model for the relations Muslims have with fellow citizens
We are stronger together, we are stronger united. This camp will emphasize that you are not alone. It will also pave the way for American unity by allowing attendees to converse and build relations with fellow attendees and community leaders. The method you adopt when establishing common understanding with fellow Muslims at the camp will translate into everyday situations in which you come across individuals who may seem to be different, but are really in many ways similar. This will become your “weapon”.
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