OVERVIEW AND HISTORY
The Universal Muslim Association of America (UMAA) is an non-governmental organization (or "NGO") that works on social, political, religious, and humanitarian issues. UMAA is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization and has obtained ECOSOC non-profit status with the United Nations and regularly participates in related initiatives.
UMAA was formally established in September, 2002 as a joint effort between scholars, community organizers and community leaders. Since then, UMAA has grown to support the America Shia community through a variety of Community Development, Advocacy and Media efforts.
UMAA aims to provide a platform for American Shia Muslims to advance political, social, economic and religious goals important to their community that may not be addressed in centers of worship.
- Fostering inter and intrafaith unity
- Dispelling misgivings about Islam and Muslims through civic engagement
- Helping other Americans understand Islam through the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his Ahl al-Bayt.
The Annual Convention: The first annual UMAA convention was held in Washington, DC in May of 2003. This was the first national-level program of its kind for the Shia-Muslim community and was attended by approximately 3,000 individuals. Subsequent annual conventions have been held in various cities around the continent. These conventions allow for Muslims of all walks of life to discuss amongst each other and hear speakers present on a variety of subjects.
Religious Advancement: UMAAmedia aims to provide quality religious content in the English language through a variety of mediums. Through partnering with Scholars, Editors and Designers, UMAAmedia has published five books over the past two years that offer introductory and advanced discourse in Islam. In 2015, UMAAmedia released a groundbreaking three-part video series titled The Hidden Quran. Offered in DVD, iTunes and online streaming format, this video provides viewers with a 35-minute introductory lecture on each Surah of the Quran.
Inter and Intra-faith dialogue: UMAA seeks to build coalitions and partnerships with adherents of other faiths and sects. UMAA’s interfaith efforts have included Ramadan joint iftar services, joint prayer services and joint press releases. In February, 2015 UMAA hosted a session wherein a hundred American Muslims and American Buddhists gathered in Washington to hear the Dalai Lama speak about the concept of service with Sheikh Fadhil al-Sahlani and other Muslim and religious leaders
Professional Advancement: UMAA aims to promote community development through a variety of initiatives focused on socio-economic advancement. UMAAnetworking is focused on pooling resources, experience and connections in order to advance the community professionally in a cohesive, collaborative manner