Faithful to Celebrate Obama With Dance, Song

January 15, 2009

Author: Julia Duin

Source: The Washington Times

A variety of religions will be whooping it up this weekend at something unique in terms of inaugural festivities: religiously oriented balls.

The African American Church Inaugural Ball will have several bishops in attendance. A Masonic ball is scheduled just off Dupont Circle. A Sikh ball will be filled with men in turbans and women in flowing silk tunics and loose trousers.

A Jewish ball will feature klezmer music, and a Muslim event will be black tie. Some will allow dancing; others will not.

One that will not is the Muslim Inauguration Gala at 7 p.m. Monday at the Thurgood Marshall Center, 1816 12th St. NW. About 500 people have signed up, paying $100 each for tickets.

Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, will attend. Several local imams, including Johari Abdul-Malik of Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church and Yusef Saleem of Masjid Muhammad in the District, also will be there.

Organizers declined to talk on the record, although they did say there will be no dancing. Islam forbids mixed-sex dancing in public.

Musical groups such as the Nappy Roots and L'Tynna and Company will perform. The Congressional Muslim Staffers Association is an honorary host.