Calling 50,000 Muslims to Prayer on Capitol Hill

By William Wan It began as the idea of one man in a New Jersey mosque after hearing President Obama … Continued

By William Wan

It began as the idea of one man in a New Jersey mosque after hearing President Obama speak about the need to reach out to Muslims in America. Now that man, Hassen Abdellah, is trying to mobilize 50,000 fellow Muslims from across the country to gather in front of Capitol Hill at the end of this month and pray for the country.

Abdellah says he’s already obtained a permit from police to gather on Capitol Hill on Sept. 25. And he’s heard from thousands willing to make the trek. “Fundraising is going slow,” he admitted, “but the bottom line is all we’re doing is praying, you don’t need that much money to pray.”

The gathering is not supposed to be political, Abdellah said in an interview. No placards or signs allowed. No major famous imams or popular celebrities scheduled so far. No real agenda other than to pray together.

“We want this to be purely about Islam,” he said. “We want to change the perception of Islam to show we are not terrorists, but that most of us Muslims here love America and abide by its laws.”

The idea came to Abdellah after he heard this portion of Obama’s inauguration speech:
“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Reflecting that sentiment is the poster announcing the prayer gathering, which features a red, white and blue hand shaking a brown hand. The Constitution and Arabic text provide the background. Abdellah’s mosque Dar-ul-Islam in Elizabeth, N.J. is helping to organize. Another interview and longer story from the New Jersey Star Ledger about the efforts here.

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  • rednova

    I’m a Muslim and the comments below is the very reason this particular imam finds the need to organize such a prayer event.Some Americans (esp. the rightwing, conspiracy-pedding, Obama and Muslim hating nutjob kind) as we found out are irreversible, close-minded bigots. Congressman Addison “Joe” Wilson is but one part of that disease. Pastor John “serve Israel over America” Hagee is another. Their visceral hatred is only matched by their blind ignorance. They insist on knowing more about my religion (Islam) than fellow Muslims themselves. Their arrogance and self-rigteousness consumes them (read the comment below from SAN1234: Islam is the disease, and its poor followers its victims, not proud and blessed receipients.)There was a poll released yesterday by Pew showing the vast majority of Americans recognizing that Islam and Muslims are the most discriminated and maligned religious group in America. There is no question its by racists and bigots such as the poster below and his fellow ilk of far righters. They live in a parallel realty, fearful of Islam and Muslims, fearful of Islamic tenets and religious laws such as Shari’ah, fearful of an African American President, fearful that the country they knew is changing… The Republicans had done a good job scaring everyone after 9/11 to win the ’04 election and they have tried it vainly to do so eversince. The question is will sane, clear-thinking American let them or see the fearmongering for what it is, be it in healthcare, anti-Muslim religious bashing, or in case of Fake News against the entire Presidency of Mr.Obama.It makes one almost sympathize with them, but then you realize to sympathize with the oppressors and bullies, you yourself become one of the unjust. May American *never* fall in the sway of these vile, contemptuous, venomous people ever again.