Brother Ali to host charity-oriented block party at N. Minneapolis mosque

All the day's events are free
September 30, 2011

What: Day of Dignity with Brother Ali & Freeway

When:  Oct. 1

11a.m.-6 p.m.

Where: Masjid An-Nur

1729 N Lyndale Ave.

Cost: Free


Tomorrow, some streets just off Broadway and Lyndale avenues in North Minneapolis will be blocked off.  No, not for a crime scene.  Brother Ali and his mosque, Masjid An-Nur, will be hosting Day of Dignity, a block party featuring music and a whole lot of community outreach.

“We’ve always had a desire to do cultural things that really have resonance with the community,” Ali said.  “To be able to have a block party at our mosque is huge.  There aren’t a lot of mosques that would do that.”  

The day will celebrate all the services that Masjid provides the community on a daily basis, just blown up to a larger scale.  Medical professionals will be offering healthcare services.  Health/hygiene kits, winter clothes and school supplies will all be given away.  More than 1,200 warm meals will be served.  There’s even going to be free haircuts.

The foundational theme of block party is sadaqah, an Islamic term meaning “voluntary charity.”  This concept embodies any sort of giving out of compassion, love or generosity.

“It’s about giving,” Ali said.  “We don’t have religious arrogance in the sense that we think that because we’re Muslim that we’re better than other people.  We believe that Islam is the best tool to help people and because we’ve been given this great tool we’re supposed to be extraordinarily helpful.” 

It’s about giving but you don’t have to give anything to come be a part of the atmosphere.  There’s no volunteer or donation requirement.  Everything’s free.  And it’s open to everyone.

“You don’t have to do anything other than show up and have fun,” Ali said.

Joining in on the festivities will be fellow Rhymesayers artist and fellow Muslim, Freeway.  The Philly-based rapper is also not a stranger to giving back to the community.  He’s organized several charitable events in his hometown, including several book bag and school supply drives.

“My Islamic faith is a huge part of me, I pray five times a day, I’ve been to Mecca twice,” he said.  “I’m excited about reaching the people.  Sadaqah is a very important part of Islam.” 

The day of charity and community camaraderie will culminate with performances by Brother Ali, Freeway and “friends.”  Though the artists’ fan bases are not typically from North Minneapolis, they’re invited to come join the community and get a taste of what it’s actually like. 

“I just want the people that would come and see us at First Ave or come and see us in Uptown, to just come to the Northside for once.  It’s not even gonna be dark outside,” Ali said.  “It would be really special for me to have my fans actually able to see where I’m really from.  They’ll see that it’s not like rap videos.”  

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