This past Sunday, October 24th, Islamic Relief hosted their 5th Annual Evening of Inspiration benefit concert at Richardson's Charles W. Eisemann Center. Talk about inspiration! Adoring Muslim fans clamored into the packed center to cheer at a sold out show. This year the benefit concert featured HUGE new artist Maher Zain, and our favorite Brothers from D.C., Native Deen, as well as a few other amazing Islamic musicians. Proceeds from Islamic Relief's yearly concert go to benefit the non-profit's hundreds of programs that supply water, food and education as well as medical needs for children and their families in deprived countries world wide. Founded in part, here in the USA, by Br. Anwar Khan, Islamic Relief first began in the UK, by Dr. Hany Al Banna. Dr. Al Banna was inspired to create Islamic Relief as a result of the famine struggle in Ethiopia, back in 1984. Islamic Relief is hailed as one of the most respected charity organizations in the world, and is linked with United Nations and World Food Programme.
-image courtesy of IslamicRelief.org
As if you needed to hear more, to get that warm feeling when you think of Islamic Relief? Well, let me top that off. For years, loyal "do-gooders" in our local communities across the U.S. have been donating their minds and bodies to assist in huge events such as the "Evening of Inspiration" concerts. Someone has to check tickets, sale concessions, and make sure that evening is organized enough to be as inspiring as it's expected to be! From children to adults to seniors, each year people line up to volunteer, knowing they are going to be working instead of sitting in a comfy chair with their other friends and families enjoying the show. Now thats giving back!
|Clubhouse:Location of Dinner|
|Laila Khan with her daughter|
I was lucky enough to be the photographer for this evening, and I am happy to share the wonderful photographs that helped capture the smiles and "thank you's" these volunteers felt. While photographing I asked Sister Laila (heart as big as Texas) if all of these children would be out with the adults through the whole event. There were an even amount of kids, compared to the adults and I wondered "Are they going to stay in the theater room so the adults can enjoy their evening?" Sister Laila smiled warmly (that heart!), and said, "They are the guests as well, most of these kids have been volunteering with IR for years now".
NEEEEEOOOOOOPPPP....thats the sound of me feeling small for thinking that they were just there and not part of the evening...LOL. I felt so inspired right then and there...These kids are giving up their play time, video game time, whatever time, to volunteer along with the adults to give back to kids in need and this night was just as much for them. The children of Sister Laila and Br. Anwar Khan, in fact, have been raised in this environment of giving, sharing, and working hard for those in need. It's like a second nature to them, and believe me they have a couple of beautiful intelligent little girls that could teach you a few things about the world's struggles. The children attending the dinner that evening all had a blast! Hot Chocolate flowed and little brown mustaches were running around the huge beautiful club house that hosted the evening dinner.
Dinner was catered by Fadi's Mediterranean Grill...ummmm can we say YUM! A beautiful buffet of Middle Eastern delights were sprayed across a beautiful table. All I could think about was that warm soft pita bread...hmmmmm....pita bread...
Ok, let me focus again, Oh Yes! Dessert! Strawberry topped Cheesecake, Smoldering Chocolate Cake and Somebody hold be back, Pecan Pie! Now you gotta make sure you say P-e-e-c-a-n Pie...the Texas way!
Everyone enjoyed the evening and the best gift of all, on top of all of this friendship, Cowboys game on the big screen theater, red velvet pool table and all the fancy coffee you can drink...the best was still yet to come.
|daughter of Anwar and Laila Khan|
|Br. Naeem of Native Deen with close friends "The Noor Family"|
These amazing Islamic artists displayed nothing but modest, humble, yet totally outgoing personalities and it really felt a lot like having a huge dinner with your closest family and friends. It was one of the best shoots I have been a part of because it didn't feel like work, it felt like spending time with really amazing people and I felt this huge need to capture that memory. Br. Naeem even whipped out a guitar from his pocket and gave us a beautiful intimate acoustic show...well maybe he had to get the guitar from his car but it was just as cool! With a melodic voice he sang about the struggles of Gaza as onlookers steadied their video phones.
|Br. Naeem-Native Deen|
|Br. Naeem plays Gaza-Native Deen|
|Maher Zain and Br. Naeem|
|Br. Naeem plays for guests of the dinner.|
An evening like this, there is only one thing that can be said in conclusion...
|Maher Zain poses with Br Anwar Khan and Family|