By Janice K. Neal-Vincent
In celebration of its 15th year anniversary, the International Museum of Muslim Cultures culminated its month-long festivities with the Islamic Heritage Festival.
The event which was held at the Mississippi Museum of Art/Art Garden prompted excitement and promoted wellness on April 30. Sprightly speaking was Khalid Abdullah Hudson, IMMC staff/festival coordinator. “This is an opportunity to share the rest of our selves with the greater community,” he said.
While numerous Islamic exhibits were on display inside the Mississippi Museum of Art, informed sessions and entertainment occurred on the grounds of the art garden.
Various professionals addressed individual and community improvement. Mississippi Move Program Director Mack Epps placed heavy emphasis on mental health and behavioral health. He made it clear that individuals should be good stewards over their minds and bodies.
“Sometimes it’s a spiritual move and sometimes you have to separate yourself from others to obtain your goals,” Epps said. The speaker then pressed the need to vote in the upcoming election and reminded the crowd to know their heritage and history and wok outside their comfort zones.
Dr. Le Percival Griffin, a doctor, appealed to listeners to get wellness screenings. He explained that blood pressure, cholesterol, visual and dental screenings should not be slighted. Griffin also addressed the significance of maintaining cardiovascular health. Blood pressure and cholesterol screenings were available to festival goers.
“Many don’t understand dental health,” said Terrance Ware, a dentist. “Be proactive about dental health. Get cleaning done every six months and get X-rays,” he continued.
Several artists participated in the festivities. Abdul Rasheed, local Miss Blues Artist with national and international acclaim, performed Lou Rawls’ “Tobacco Row.” Sujood Hamdan, young Palestinian Artist, sang “Palestine Will be Free.” Amina Do Rasheed played songs “Ready, Aim, Fire” and “Mona Lisa” on the keyboard.
Co-founder/board chair and director of IMMC’s new Islamic Thought Institute, Okolo Rasheed, explained that IMMC has been received by the Jackson area with enthusiasm, interest and support. “IMMC has good support and engagement with a broad base of community, to include the diverse religious communities, and among various institutions, to include the educational community – schools, colleges, and universities. As a matter of fact, we have a partnership with Jackson Public School District,” Rasheed said.
Islamic cultures link to Natchez due to Abdur Rahman Ibrahima, who was a Western African prince and general of the largest calvary in the region. “He was enslaved in Natchez for 40 years, from 1788 to 1828,” Rasheed said.
Rasheed projects that in the near future IMMC will announce a partnership with three educational institutions – two colleges and a university within the Jackson area. Then in April 2017 two events are expected. An extraordinary international exhibition titled “The Covenant of Prophet Muhammad with Christians of the World exhibition” will showcase never before exhibited ancient covenants/treaties signed by Prophet Muhammad. Additionally, a national conference titled “America at a Crossroads: Race and Class at the Center of an Ongoing Struggle for Human Dignity” will undergo an unbiased look at Islamic culture.
For more information on Islamic cultures, call (601) 960-0440 or visit www.muslimmuseum.org.
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