Philly Town Hall Meeting, A Muslim Watcher, and Getting Home

The Muslim Town Hall event at Masjid al- Jamia in Philadelphia attracted a lot of attention and a big crowd masha’Allah. The religious outreach coordinator for the Democratic National Committee was on hand, along with representatives of the campaigns of Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton with Clinton campaign chair Terry McAuliffe calling in.

A number of imams from throughout Philly were on hand and the event was broadcast live on 900 AM WURD by the Threshold Media Group and host Nafis Bouie. After the event we were entertained by Muslim comedian Preacher Moss. Also interested in the event was a character we could have done without and that is an investigator from an Islamophobic group who follows Muslim events nationwide. Alhamdudilah, I showed him the door before the event began and snapped a picture of him for the benefit of the community.

This is a new step in the political enfranchisement of American-Muslims as led by MAS Freedom, Imam Mahdi Bray the Muslim League of Voters of Philly and others. Yesterday this event was at a masjid; but in the years to come these events will be held in sports arenas as our community becomes more politically savvy. The eyes of the nation will be on Pennsylvania on Tuesday and North Carolina afterwards. In both states, MAS Freedom is organizing the Muslim vote. So, I encourage all Muslims to make your voices heard.

Allah is the best of planners and I went to a brother’s house to watch the Hopkins-Calzaghe fight after the event ( I know, I know Brits) and the brother gave me a mini-tour of Philly, which I greatly appreciated, before dropping me off at the Amtrak station. Unfortunately for me, the ticket counter was closed and all I had was cash and was told by a cop that I could not buy a ticket, so I jumped into a cab and headed to the Greyhound bus station.

At the bus station I found out the next bus wasn’t leaving for like 8 hours and I prepared to stay the night at the bus station. Looking around I saw an interesting cast of characters; a very pregnant Puerto Rican woman wearing a see though tank-top and beating a vending machine for taking her money, a Latin King in the gold colors with a half-naked tattooed Dominican girl on his lap, a couple arguing over the appropriate share of pork grinds, and a Muslim brother in a short thobe begging his wife to let him come stay at home and admonishing her to follow the sunnah.

So, I was like man I would rather just walk home, but short of that I called Amtrak on the phone and waited like 20 minutes to be told that the cop gave me bad info and that I could make a reservation on the phone and pay cash on the train so that’s what I did after walking to a masjid first for a rest. I was mad at having to catch a cab back to the Amtrak. And when I saw that same cop I walked up to him and said ” free Mumia” and kept walking. When the train finally did arrive I walked from the front to the back looking for a empty seat and in the very last car, which I just happened to enter by coincidence, the smiling face of Imam Johari Abdul-Malik greeted me and masha’Allah he made the trip a lot shorter. We prayed fajr together and had a very informative conversation all the way back to DC. Allah is the best of planners.

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