An evening to celebrate differences and similarities through humor, stories and fellowship will occur Saturday in recognition of the 32nd annual Islamic Day of Ohio.
The Miami Valley Islamic Association invites the community to meet and honor community heroes and a celebrated local former U.S. congressman and hear a keynote speaker at 6 p.m. at the Derby Banquet Hall at Windy Knoll Golf Club, 500 Roscommon Dr.
Admission is free and will include refreshments and the program; reservations are not necessary.
Members of the local Islamic community like to support local events such as CultureFest and other races and religions, and see this as a chance to share its culture.
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“This is an interfaith event, for the races to come together,” said Dr. Akber Mohammed, who organized the program. Sana Ahmed will be the emcee.
The evening will begin with a social hour with refreshments at 6, followed by the program at 7:15 with a Qur’an recitation. Dave Hobson, former U.S. Representative of Ohio’s 7th Congressional District, will be recognized as the evening’s guest of honor.
Aman Ali, an award-winning Muslim-American storyteller and comedian, will be the keynote speaker. Hailing from the Columbus area, Ali’s family emigrated to the U.S. from India in the 1960s for better opportunities.
Those opportunities allowed Ali to become a journalist, working for various national news outlets covering presidential races and other important events before turning to comedy in the late 2000s, including opening shows for Dave Chappelle.
Ali will share his stories of growing up a Muslim in Ohio and will use his comedy to bring people together no matter their beliefs, organizers say.
“We try to invite good guests that help us get to know one another, that we are more alike than different through more education and awareness of each other,” said Samina Ahmed, another event organizer.
The evening will conclude with an awards ceremony honoring community heroes and presented by Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland to six individuals including a nurse, teacher, police officer and others.
“These are Springfield heroes who go beyond the call of duty. These professionals are improving life for future generations,” said Mohammed.
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He is also pleased Saturday’s program, which is put together and paid for by members of the Miami Valley Islamic Association, will be led by a younger generation ranging from 14 to 24 years-old.
The Derby Banquet Hall is also a new venue for the event, which was revived in 2018 after several years, as it is more accessible, according to Ahmed.
Mohammed added a new touch will be a series of Discover Islam posters designed for non-Muslim visitors to understand the culture better, in response to some who don’t know its values.
“We are one family, maybe come from different places, but in the end, we are all the children of Adam and Eve,” Mohammed said. “We can come together on Saturday and celebrate our commonness and the goodness of each other.”
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