Former President Jimmy Carter speaks at Islamic Society of North America Conference

DETROIT (WXYZ) - It’s an opportunity Faiez Samad could not pass up, a chance to see the 39th President of the United States in Person.

“It’s great that he is getting involved,” said Samad.  “I am really excited to see him here because I have never seen him before.”

The Avondale High School senior was not alone. Hundreds of Muslim Americans packed inside Cobo Center to hear President Jimmy Carter speak Saturday afternoon at the Islamic Society of North America’s annual convention.

This year, the event is held in Detroit.

“This is a huge event and people are coming in from literally all over the country and everyone is super excited about it,” said Nabila Rabaa of West Bloomfield.

President Carter addressed the crowd about a number of issues, particularly the historic need for religious communities to mobilize against discrimination and violence that is directed at girls and women throughout the world.

“It’s an absolute honor,” said Rabaa. “I mean, it’s great. When we can get people from other communities, especially non-Muslims addressing the issues that we’re dealing with it’s an honor.”

"President Jimmy Carter has a very unique perspective on world issues as it is, given the Carter Center and their work all over the world.  Particularly in a lot of developing countries in the middle east and in the Muslim world,” said Fayrouz Saad of Dearborn.  “I think he has alot of insight on things happening on the ground… a lot of the process that has been made but sill a lot of the progress that needs to be made.”

President Carter has  traveled to 145 countries with his wife and he is building an interfaith coalition to alleviate what he calls unconscionable human suffering. 

At the ISNA Convention he invited muslim leaders to sign a declaration for peaceful communities.

“There’s all sorts of issues we need to deal with in the muslim world:  women’s issues and empowering women is certainly one of them,” said Saad.  “There is alot of stuff being done but there can always be more.   I think alot of it is being addressed here this weekend.”

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