With the expansion of the Islamic Center of Long Island around the corner, ICLI decided to undertake a bold initiative that would thrust one of Long Island’s oldest and well established Islamic institutions onto the national spotlight – agreeing to broadcast a three-hour telethon special on – major South Asian satellite networks – ARY, GEO, and PTV – across North America.
The objective of the telethon was to raise awareness of ICLI – not just as a Mosque, but, as a pillar for the Long Island Muslim community, a place of Islamic education, a champion for the rights of women, and a beacon of hope in the continuing efforts to foster interfaith relations – in the greater New York City region – while breaking down the barriers of misunderstanding surrounding the beautiful religion of Islam.
The telethon, filmed live at Soundview Studios in Long Island City, painted a series of stories within a story, an evolving theme which showed the rich diversity of ICLI, as well as the different functions that ICLI serves internally and externally. Featured were ICLI President Hamza Byas, President-Elect Isma Chaudhry, First Vice President Habeeb Ahmed, Former ICLI Presidents Sajid Shah and Nasir Farooqi, ICLI Vice President Rizwan Qureshi and Sunday School teacher Arfan Arif, Hofstra University Muslim Chaplain Seema Ahmed, ICLI Board members Seema Rahman and Dr. Farida Chaudhry, and long-time ICLI contributors Sarah Eltabib and Haaris Din. The program was hosted by Asim Khan of the Helping Hands Foundation, and, produced by long-time ICLI member Siddique Farooqi. There were segments taped at ICLI which highlighted different cross-sections of ICLI’s diversity and what each segment wants from the expanded ICLI.
The telethon was greatly assisted by the presence of nationally renown scholar Imam Siraj Wahaj, Aneeq Ahmed (of Dunya TV in Pakistan), Br. Mufti Farhan, and ICLI Resident Scholar Dr. Ibrahim Negm.
By the grace of Allah, the telethon generated donation amounts which greatly exceeded projected goals for the event.
The process of producing and planning for this major undertaking ushered in a new era for ICLI – an era of enhanced digital promotion, social media coverage, and the advent of “ICTV” – which, God Willing, will be an ongoing portal of video content geared towards better informing, educating, and even entertaining members of the ICLI community – and beyond.