A vision of small communities across the nation united in Islamic faith and
leadership brought top Islamic leaders and other Muslim-Americans from
around the state to Miami for the ninth annual Florida Conference of Muslim

The three-day conference highlight was a gala dinner and awards ceremony
Jan. 15 at Florida Memorial College.

”We want to build model communities,” said Nasir Ahmad, the imam or
prayer leader of the Liberty City-based Masjid Al-Ansar, which hosted the
Jan. 14-16 gathering. ”We feel there is a void in the collective
subconscious of African-American people that evolved during slavery.”

Building model communities and ending intolerance toward Muslim Americans
were the focus of the dinner and awards ceremony. Proceeds from the banquet
— about $4,000 — were donated to the Clara Muhammad Schools, run by the

Opening remarks from the keynote speaker, Ibrahim Pasha, associate imam of
the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, echoed the ideal of model communities. He
also said a lot of children need help.

Creating the model communities would mean changing people’s attitudes but
that is not something that is new to the delegates who attended the conference.

As followers of Imam W. Deen Muhammad, son of the late controversial leader
Elijah Muhammad, they and others belong to a national organization of
Muslim Americans that found its way through a mental shift in its teachings
away from racial separatism to racial inclusion


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