The Fifth annual “Muslims around the World” event, hosted by Islamic Center of Naperville’s (ICN) weekend school, Al-Falah Academy, was held at the ICN’s Ogden Ave facility on Saturday, December 18, 2021. It was an academy and a community event which was attended by over 350 individuals.
Students from Al-Falah academy represented several countries, showcasing the unique cultures within the religion, Islam. The trifolds at each booth reflected student research and artifacts, ethnic outfits along with culinary samples which were contributions from community families. Guests were encouraged to attend and immerse themselves into an exploration of the diverse cultures in countries where Muslims reside. India, Pakistan Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Iraq and the United States were represented at the booths.
Congressman Bill Foster, Congressman Sean Casten, State Senator Laura Ellman, State Representative Janet Yang Rohr, District 204 Board Members Laurie Donahue, Sapna Jain and Natasha Grover, Naperville Council members Ian Holzhauer, Jennifer Taylor, Pat Kelly, Paul Leong and DuPage County Board member Sadia Covert and Dawn DeSart and other officials also attended the event.
Alzena Saleem, Principal of Al-Falah Academy said, “Five years ago, this started off as an event for the students, mainly to showcase for the students the differences between their peers. We are all Muslims, but it was an opportunity for them to see that we have diversity amongst ourselves. Now it is an opportunity, not just for our students and the Al-Falah community but also for the Naperville community as a whole.”
Al-Falah Academy serves Naperville and its surrounding suburbs with a focus on religious education, character building & community service. 375 students currently attend this weekend academy from Pre-k to 9th grade levels.
Many students and staff members were dressed in unique and colorful traditional attire, representing their respective countries. The mood in the venue was that of excitement and joy, as students and families proudly represented a blend of cultures across the globe, and within their local community.
“Diversity, as we know it, provides an advantage and has its benefits. The global Muslim community is blessed to be extremely diverse, and the purpose of the event is to highlight our diversity and celebrate it,” said Naeem Hussaini, the Vice Principal of the Academy.
Attendees enjoyed interactions with the students and learning about interesting and intricate details of each culture. The event was well organized and memorable. The school hopes to continue this annual tradition next year.