An annual convention organized by the Muslim American Society (MAS) and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) kicked off Friday in the third largest U.S. city.
As one of the largest and most diverse Islamic conventions in North America, the MAS-ICNA Convention was launched at McCormick Place, the largest convention center in the region, and is set to continue through Dec. 29.
The three-day-convention, one of the programs gathering tens of thousands of Muslims from all over the world, especially North American, began with Friday prayer at the exhibition area.
More than 100 renowned American Muslim speakers scheduled to join the convention themed Islam: Meeting today's challenges and investing in a better future.
The convention, expected to bring together more than 20,000 Muslims, will focus on issues such as Islamophobia, racism and discrimination faced by Muslims in the U.S.
The 2019 MAS-ICNA Convention will also address the most important, imminent challenges the American Muslim community is facing and will focus on how to secure a better future for generations to come.
In addition to the conference and training programs, the convention has a large market area -- 450 boots with promotional and vendor stands.
Turkish commercial companies and Turkish NGOs established or organized in the U.S. also opened promotional stands in the area.
Organizations such as Diyanet Center of America (DCA), Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC) and Zakat Foundation (ZF) provided information about their activities at booths.
The convention takes place every December during the winter holiday season.
With efforts of over 300 volunteers, the number of attendees has successfully grown from 1,500 in 2001 to 21,000 in 2018, according to the convention website.
The MAS and ICNA are religious and educational organizations that offer unique programs and services that seek to better the individual and in turn, the greater society by imparting Islamic knowledge and promoting community service, it added.
Both Islamic organizations teamed up to produce two successful conventions every year: the MAS Convention in Chicago and the ICNA Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.
The convention seeks to provide an atmosphere energized by unified praise and worship by offering a variety of lectures which depict solid Islamic teaching, as well as provides various programs, including intensive workshops, a diverse 450 Booth-Bazaar and entertainment sessions which include a talent show, Quran competition, a kids carnival and Islamic music.