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Nation IN BRIEF : OHIO

Muslim Convention Draws Thousands

September 01, 1996|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Looking for a tape of Islamic rap music? Or maybe toothpaste and soap declared halal, permitted for use by Muslims because they contain no animal fat? It's all available and more at a four-day convention where thousands of Muslims have gathered in Columbus, Ohio. They're shopping and showing their enthusiasm for their religion, discussing problems common to Muslim Americans and demonstrating that they're here to stay. "We are American Muslims," said Jawaad Rahman, an organizer. "This is home, and we plan to make a constructive contribution and bring Islam to this country." The Islamic Society of North America's 33rd convention in the United States gives a snapshot of a Muslim community on the continent that Islamic leaders number at about 6 million. The conventions have grown from meager gatherings of a few hundred to those of recent years, drawing more than 10,000 Muslims a year.

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