The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) held a banquet at Anthony’s of Malden on Friday, July 13 to raise funds and awareness for their latest project, a shelter for women and children. ICNA is a non-profit, faith-based organization with 13 offices in the US. “We do domestic relief for people in the United States. The fundraiser is to support ICNA Relief Boston’s activities. The majority of ICNA’s donations come from the Muslim community of all ethnicities,” explained Sister Malika Rushdan, director of ICNA Relief Boston. ICNA has a halal food pantry and issues gift cards to a local grocery store.
One of the main speakers that evening was Congressman Andre Carson, a democrat from Indiana. Carson, a practicing Muslim, recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan. He stated, “Our troops are doing a fantastic job there. I saw a series of crop substitution programs, roads, and schools in Afghanistan. But our own schools are suffering, and we have deep issues of poverty in our own United States. The challenges before us are quite clear. Annually it is estimated that 1.3 million women are victims of physical assaults by an intimate partner. We’ve known for a while that faith- based organizations can play an integral role in providing help to those who are struggling.”
Carson congratulated ICNA Relief Boston on their efforts and talked about how caring for those who are less fortunate is a tenet of Islam. ICNA has four existing shelter homes, which are open to people of all faiths. The new shelter incidentally, is the renovated former home of iconic Muslim leader and social activist Malcolm X.
“It’s on Interval Street in Dorchester, and Malcolm X was minister of the mosque next to it when he was in Boston,” said Sister Malika. “It’s very exciting for me because the autobiography of Malcolm X is what led me to Islam.”
“I would like to extend a special welcome to Brother Andre Carson and personally thank him for lending his name to this important fundraiser,” said Mayor Gary Christenson. “Many women and their children are relying on this project so they can have a safe and nurturing place during a difficult time in their life. Tonight, I stand with you in the social and moral obligation we all have to help one another and make our community a safer and better place.”