First Annual South Jersey Muslim Heritage Month Festival

The First Annual South Jersey Muslim Heritage Month Festival was held at Indian Springs Country Club in Marlton, NJ, on Saturday, January 27th. The event was the first of its kind in South Jersey, with close to 1,000 attendees. This free event celebrated January, being recognized as Muslim Heritage Month in New Jersey for the first time. This celebration highlighted the many Muslim contributions to America’s history and culture.

The vendor stalls showcased the breadth of Muslim Heritage in an immersive global experience:

  • America’s Islamic Heritage Museum set up a mini museum at the event for people to walk through and get a preview of the larger museum being built in Washington, DC. 
  • Art Exhibits were displayed by many local Muslim artists, showcasing the beauty of calligraphy and landmarks from the Muslim world. Attendees were able to meet the artists and purchase the work displayed. Also, some non-Muslim local artists were allowed to showcase and sell their work, which received great appreciation from the local community!
  • International Vendors sold everything from perfumes, clothing, head scarves, jewelry, crafts, books, and more. The variety of items for attendees to see and purchase was a delight to all.
  • Local Business sponsors were also able to share materials for attendees to learn about them and increase their foothold. 
  • A Global Food Village was one of the major crowd pleasers. With everything from pizza with delicious halal toppings to Mexican, Lebanese, Indo-Chinese, and South Asian street food and main dishes. All to be enjoyed with Turkish desserts and steaming hot Kashmiri chai. The tasty food indeed highlighted the multicultural variety of Muslim foods. 

A truly entertaining program with poetry, cultural performances, and even a comedian!

  • Recognition of Muslim Heritage Month by the mayor of Marlton was a wonderful way to open the program to all attendees, both Muslim and nonmuslim. Several politicians attended, including the 1st Pakistani Muslim Mayor of the neighboring Mount Laurel Township.
  • A Youth Essay and Art Competition showcased the amazing talent of kids ranging from seven years old to seventeen!
  • Cultural Performances added to the festive atmosphere. These included youth performances, a Turkish Boy’s Dance School, and the Palestinian Dabka Group that culminated with audience participation!
  • Two hilarious comedians brought the house down with their playful humor on being Muslim in America. Their shared life experiences show how resilient Muslims are. 

A Vision for the Future

The Muslim Heritage Month Coalition of NJ, the event organizer, envisions a future where Muslim contributions are widely recognized and integrated into the fabric of our society. This festival was a step towards that goal, celebrating, educating, and promoting the diverse and rich cultural and historical contributions of Muslims in America.

The First Annual Muslim Heritage Month Festival was more than just an event; it was a vibrant declaration of the diverse and rich heritage that Muslims bring to the cultural mosaic of New Jersey. It was a day of learning, enjoyment, and community spirit, leaving attendees with a deeper appreciation of the Muslim heritage and its integral role in the tapestry of American society. The success of this festival sets a high bar for future events and marks a significant milestone in the journey towards greater understanding and integration.

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