After the success of Dallas Muslim Art Exhibition, a leading American Muslim civil rights group hosted first Muslim cultural art and food festival to celebrate the rich diversity of the Austin Muslim community through art, food, and educational programs.
— CAIR National (@CAIRNational) October 3, 2022
“I realized that Austin — being a cultural capital of Texas that has a booming, diverse Muslim population — should do (a) festival … to really give people an opportunity to break bread with their Muslim neighbors,” Faizan Syed, executive director of the Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The Daily Texan.
“We’re hoping that Muslims (and) other faiths will come celebrate the diversity of their Muslim neighbors.”
The festival, held on Saturday, Oct 1, featured a wide variety of food, art, clothing and jewelry vendors, as well as fun activities for children and educational workshops to inspire and empower young Muslim leaders.
Syed said the festival aimed to engage with younger generations and combat anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobic sentiments.
“I hope people want to have these personal relationships. We are neighbors, we’re your friends and we’re part of the community,” he said.
“We have to be able to … really find the value and benefit of one another’s company, cultures and traditions. If not, we can see this ugly rise of (divisiveness), along with this ugly rise of hatred.”
Shaimaa Zayan, the council’s community relations coordinator, added it’s important for people to connect and find common ground on a human level.
“We are all humans. We share (the) same hopes, interests (and) fears,” Zayan said.
“I’m really excited to attract more Hispanic people to come. (We want to) honor their culture (and) language, but also find these bridges and build on the common values and the common history we have.”
In 2021, the University of Michigan also opened an exhibition to showcase the narratives and diversity of Detroit Muslim community.
In 2018, CAIR’s Missouri chapter hosted ‘Creativity and Identity: An American-Muslim Art Exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum’.
The event aimed at bringing different communities together while exhibiting contemporary Muslim art.