A two year old Islamic organization led by Black-Americans tied to the Muslim Brotherhood will host its first conference in Philadelphia from Nov. 2-4 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Local media described the conference of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) as follows:
“State of the Black American Muslim Community: Assessment and Analysis for An Achievable Agenda” is the focus of the conference. “Our goal is to energize in particular African-American mosques and to really get Muslims involved in the issues that face Muslims and non-Muslims alike in the inner city,” said Ihsan Bagby, MANA general secretary, and professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky. Workshops during the conference will focus on family, criminal justice, youth, education, health, women, economic development and the masjid. “This conference is a result of imams and religious scholars acknowledging the people they lead and represent and their daily dilemmas and concerns,” said Imam Siraj Wahhaj of Masjid Al Taqwa in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Amir of MANA, in a release. Bagby said the goal of this conference is to develop an agenda to be implemented by the organization and attract more workers. “We want to build a national network that will take the African-American Muslim community to the next level and make it a major player in urban issues,” Bagby said….The organization estimates about 1,500 persons to participate in this weekend’s conference and looks to expand its membership. Philadelphia is home to an estimated 250,000 self-described Muslims, making it a perfect backdrop for the conference, planners said.Several local and state officials will participate….honorees include Imam W. Deen Mohammed, leader of the country’s largest African-American Muslim group, who will receive the Lifetime Service Award.
The MANA website describes the organization as:
…a national network of masjids, Muslim organizations and individuals committed to work together to address certain urgent needs within the Muslim community. These needs include the great social and economic problems that are challenging Muslim communities especially in the inner city; the need for the involvement of masjids and Muslims in community service projects which are aimed at improving society as a whole; the need for systematic and effective dawah programs to help bring more non-Muslims into Islam; the need for new Muslim programs that will help them to grow in Islam. MANA is therefore an open organization that is agenda driven.
According to various sources, MANA’s General-Secretary Ihsan Bagby is a black Islamic convert and Professor of Islamic Studies who is a member of several U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations including the Fiqh Council of North America, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Other members of the MANA Executive Committee and/or Shura Council include Siraj Wahhaj, a black Islamic convert who was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and has been active in the American Muslim Council, ISNA (former V.P.) and CAIR and Johari Abdul Malik; head of the National Association of Muslim Chaplains in Higher Education, director of community outreach for the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center and President of the Muslim Society of Washington.
(Source: Philadelphia Tribune November 2, 2007 “Muslim Alliance to host conference” SECTION: RELIGION; Pg. 6D Vol. 123 No. 100)