The Muslim Community Center (MCC) is one of the oldest Muslim faith-based organizations in the Washington, D.C., area. MCC aims to represent the Muslim community in interfaith circles, government, public and media relations, and society at large. Having recently celebrated forty years in existence in 2016, MCC offers seniors and youth programs, a food pantry that serves over sixty families facing food insecurity, and an on-site medical clinic.
The Muslim Community Center presented two On the Move sessions at the 2017 Folklife Festival:
What Does It Mean to Be American Muslim?
Representatives from MCC spoke about how migration and acculturation has impacted and shaped the lives of American Muslims now and for the past thirty years. The session offered perspectives of three generations of Muslim experience spanning stories of migration and settlement to being born and raised in America, and how the younger generation has shaped the narrative of Muslims in current times.
- Usman Sarwar, moderator, is the current board president of the Muslim Community Center, and the first in its history who was born in the United States. He has been active in the local Muslim community for almost two decades with a particular focus on youth development. He worked with the D.C. Council of area Muslim Student Associations, representing the University of Maryland, and he was MCC’s youth coordinator and education chair before joining the board.
- Sabir A. Rahman is chair of the bylaws, policy, and procedures committee at MCC and was also a past board president. He is very involved in the area’s interfaith circles, where he works to promote dialogue, understanding, and peace.
- Sanjana Quasem is the current chair of MCC’s Zakat (charity) Committee. She was instrumental in founding MCC’s Young Adult and Professionals Program, which serves the spiritual, social, and professional needs of post-graduate life for young Muslim adults.
- Abdiaziz Ahmed is an incoming sophomore at Montgomery College studying information systems. He serves as a curriculum coordinator and Islamic studies teacher at MCC’s weekend school, and he is an organizer of the D.C. Muslim Interscholastic Tournament, which convenes high school students to develop leadership, communication, and other creative skills.
- Nazea Khan Nazea is a student at the University of Maryland, where she majors in business marketing. She is an unapologetic and proud Muslim Bengali American who enjoys playing basketball and field hockey. An entrepreneur at heart, she plans to open a business in the near future.
Second-Generation Stories: A Conversation with Writer Hena Khan
Hena Khan discussed her newest book, Amina’s Voice, a story of a Pakistani American Muslim girl’s struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school and facing a tragedy that strikes her community. This novel is the first release of Salaam Reads, which focuses on stories featuring Muslim characters. Khan discussed how she approaches issues of identity and assimilation and will invite the public to do the same.
Khan is a Pakistani American Muslim, born and raised in Maryland. Like the middle-school protagonist in her book, Khan grappled with balancing two cultures, as well as the universal coming-of-age issues of self-doubt, shifting friendships and family expectations. Khan is also the award-winning author of several Muslim-themed picture books, including Night of the Moon, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, and It’s Ramadan, Curious George.