BOSTON, Nov. 23, 2011 – The American Islamic Congress (AIC) today announced the grand-opening of its new cultural center on Dec. 2, 2011 at 38 Newbury Street. The event will feature Congressman Michael Capuano, AIC Executive Director Zainab Al-Suwaij, and local American Muslim artists.
“We are thrilled to establish a welcoming home in the heart of Boston on Newbury Street,” said Nasser Weddady, AIC’s Civil Rights Outreach Director. “We are showcasing a fresh vision of what it means to be Muslim in Boston.”
AIC’s new cultural center offers a gateway to a scene of innovators and artists who explore the diversity of American Muslim identity. Overlooking the Back Bay, the center’s gleaming white interior hall includes a stage for artistic performances, business roundtables, human rights panels, and social events.
AIC is a civil rights organization that promotes tolerance and the exchange of ideas among Muslims and between all peoples. In addition to offices in Washington, Cairo, Tunis, Baghdad, and Basra, the organization has already engaged thousands of Bostonians via annual events such as the Boston Muslim Film Festival, the “Help End Hunger” Ramadan food drive for the Pine Street Inn and the “Mimouna” interfaith celebration in collaboration with the New Center for the Arts.
“For the past several years AIC has been cultivating a diverse community of American Muslims, and at last we have a home of our own,” Weddady said. “The center is an encounter space where Bostonian of all backgrounds can explore Muslim cultural identity, both locally and internationally, in all of its wonderful complexity.”
The cultural center’s multimedia facilities will screen cutting-edge films and video feeds from inspiring civil rights advocates around the world. Gallery space will spotlight exhibits by local and international artists. Conference rooms will host educational programs led by experts in myriad disciplines. The venue can also be reserved for celebrations, community events and classes.
Open to events during a two-week preview, AIC’s cultural center has already successfully hosted three unique events signifying its mission: a lecture by the groundbreaking Moroccan journalist and dissident Ahmed Benchemsi on the future of the Arab Spring; a master class taught by a prominent Senegalese calligrapher Yelimane Fall; and a roundtable for Muslim small business owners featuring State Treasurer Steve Grossman that brought together over twenty local entrepreneurs.