The kick-off for its three days of events begins with a jummah prayer, the weekly mid-afternoon Friday prayer, at Marshall Park in uptown. Other events include an Islamic issues conference and banquet, and a cultural festival held in different parts of the city, including at the Park Expo and Conference Center off Independence Boulevard.
At a news conference Monday at Marshall Park, Jibril Hough, a local Muslim activist and spokesman for the nonprofit Bureau of Indigenous Muslim Affairs, said the events will be open to anyone.
Hough, who expects up to 20,000 Muslims to attend the events, said he spoke to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe about the public prayer in particular and was told to go ahead with it.
Hough said the events are scheduled for several reasons: including to hold political parties accountable for issues that affect Muslim-Americans.
Among those issues, Hough said, is the Patriot Act, a law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks that expanded anti-terrorism surveillance. Other issues: the National Defense Authorization Act, which critics claim allows for indefinite military detention, and the New York Police Department’s wiretapping program to spy on Muslims.
“Thousands of Muslims are going to perform the Friday ritual prayer,” Hough said. “We hope our people will leave feeling rewarded about who they are and what their issues are and have a candidate checklist.”
There were 1,200 nonofficial convention-related events during the DNC in Denver in 2008. Charlotte expects about 1,000, said Suzi Emmerling, spokeswoman for the host committee Charlotte In 2012.
Emmerling said the host committee will publicize events for those groups that want their events to be made public.
“The host committee is trying to keep track of all events and also let our partners at CMPD know what’s going on so that they can allocate their resources appropriately,” Emmerling said.
Muhammad Jaaber, executive director of the Bureau of Indigenous Muslim Affairs, said smaller events are planned for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in late August.