In the series of Diversity Training Programs being offered by PICNA to local Law Enforcement Agencies, the Lexington Police Department hosted an event on Friday, September 2, 2022. Entitled ‘Understanding Islam and Muslims’, this was first of the two training sessions the Department has organized for their management and employees.
The program was very well attended with about 50 participants who keenly followed the presentation. A senior official from South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), also attended as an observer as that department is also planning to hold such an event in the near future. Lexington Police Chief Terrence Green welcomed PICNA President Chaudhry Sadiq and highlighted the value of such a unique program. The presentation deals with basic concepts, beliefs and practices of Islam and Muslims as well as Muslim demographics aground the world and in the USA.
Richland County Sheriff Department Hosts Diversity Training by PICNA
PICNA and Masjid Noor Ul Huda have enjoyed very close and productive relations with the Richland County Sheriff Department (RCSD). Under the able leadership of Sheriff Leon Lott, RCSD has provided great support to the Muslim Community of Columbia, especially to PICNA’s partner Masjid Noor Ul Huda, a prominent local mosque. From security assessments to Active Shooter Training to an Emergency Evacuation Drill, the department has provided various services in recent years. Sheriff Leon Lott has been invited to Muslim Eid Celebrations on a number of occasions where he has had the opportunity of addressing the Muslim Community and earning their trust and friendship.
Columbia Police Department hosts ‘Understanding Islam and Muslims’ Presentation
As normal activities pick up after the pandemic era, PICNA has commenced its in-person events gradually. Based on the huge success and popularity of its presentation entitled ‘Understanding Islam and Muslims’ in the last few years, PICNA decided to offer this program as a resource for ‘Diversity Training’ to the local Law Enforcement Agencies. The second of this series of programs was organized for Columbia Police Department in South Carolina on July 27, 2022 at the Earlewood Park Community Center in Columbia.
The program started with an explanation of the terminology of ‘Islam’ and ‘Muslims’ and went on to educate the audience about the central Islamic concept of God and monotheism, the Prophet Mohammad and the Qur’an, the holy scripture of Muslims. The program also covered Muslim demographics around the world and the U.S. besides enlightening the participants about Muslim contributions to world civilization.
Presentation on 'Understanding Islam and Muslims' found to be Relevant and Informative
The Columbia Muslim Community has had a continuing relationship with the FBI Columbia Division for several years. With the arrival of the current Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Susan Ferensic, PICNA leadership had a very productive meeting with the the SAC and resolved to enhance the relationship for mutual benefit.
The change in Afghanistan that occurred last August, came at the speed of lightening. The horrific scenes of Afghans desperate to flee their country shocked the world. More than 70,000 Afghans have been temporarily accommodated at seven bases across the U.S. where they received their health check ups and vaccinations and their initial immigration process was started.
These Afghan individuals and families are now being disbursed to various states gradually. This resettlement process is expected to be completed by summer of 2022 during which time, South Carolina will host 200 Afghan refugees. PICNA and its partner Masjid Noor Ul Huda met with management of Lutheran Services of Carolinas, the premiere agency handling refugee rehabilitation in the Carolinas, to discuss co-sponsorship of one or more Afghan families. As a result of the initiative, we received our first Afghan family of nine members at Columbia Airport. They have been temporarily accommodated at the Lutheran Services Guest House while long term housing is being arranged for them.
A Time of Trials and Tribulations
It started from one country and spread throughout the world like wildfire. It was identified as ‘Corona Virus’ or COVID-19. The world had not experienced anything like this for a century, since the Spanish Flu, in which 50 million people perished.
Men, women and children were restricted to their homes; schools, offices, restaurants and other businesses were shut. Even churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship were forced to close their doors. Like people of other faiths, Muslims too were saddened as well as frustrated but had no choice but to bow to the will of God Almighty. Indeed it has been a trial for the whole of humanity, of a scale beyond imagination. I feel deep pain and indeed heart broken when I see little, innocent children wearing masks for long hours! The plight and pain of those being isolated for days or weeks in case of ‘testing positive’ is beyond imagination. Not being able to hug your dear ones and often not seeing your close relatives for fear of contracting or spreading virus is indeed unbearable.
PICNA and its Partners hold a Webinar
As a consequence of the ongoing pandemic, PICNA held its first virtual event - a Webinar entitled ‘Gandhi on Prophet Muhammad and Islam’ on Friday, January 8, 2021. The program was organized in celebration of Interfaith Harmony Month that has now become a great tradition in South Carolina. The webinar was co-sponsored by Sound Vision and Interfaith Partners of SC while the keynote speaker was Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Founder/President of Sound Vision, Justice for All and Chair Emeritus of the Parliament of the Worlds Religions. This virtual event was attended by more than fifty participants from various states representing a cross section of society.
Rohingyas, Uighurs and Kashmiris’ Suffering Highlighted
A seminar was held in Columbia, SC, to highlight the plight of Rohingyas, Uighurs and Kashmiris, on Friday, November 8, 2019 at the Midlands Technical College. Keynote speaker at the event was Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, an internationally acclaimed human rights champion and Founder Chairman of Sound Vision.
A large number of people from various faiths, professions and ethnicities attended the Kashmir Vigil held on Friday, September 6, 2019 at the SC Statehouse Grounds. Young and old, individuals and whole families as well as two local Imams - Imam Adly and Imam Bashir - turned up to stand in solidarity with the seven million residents of Indian Administered Kashmir whose basic human rights have been grossly violated.
'The Sultan and the Saint’ Movie Returns to Columbia, SC
‘The Sultan and the Saint’ movie program held in Columbia, SC on Sunday, March 24, brought a breath of fresh air in the aftermath of the New Zealand tragedy. The event was jointly hosted by PICNA and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and held at the majestic Stavros Lecture Hall of the Seminary in downtown Columbia.
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Strive for peace, harmony, goodwill and understanding between people of all faiths and cultures, facilitate interfaith dialog and enlighten society about true Islamic values and principles
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