Islamic geometric art in the background with event infoRecap of the 3rd Annual Muslim Cultural Festival

By Chrissy Erguiza, DPO Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus Chair

I’ve been attending the Muslim International Cultural Festival for the past three years and I’ve always had the delight being in this communal space.

This year, Portland Parks and Recreation District and the Muslim Educational Trust (based out in Washington County) hosted their 3rd Annual Muslim International Cultural Festival at Directors Park. The Washington County Democrats and the Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus with the Democratic Party of Oregon were there to be a resource to all Portlanders in town.

The theme of this year’s event was “Connecting Humanity Through the Power of Music, Art, and Food.” According to the Parks and Recreation District’s online events calendar, their collaboration with MET went towards enriching the wider community’s understanding of Islam through experiencing the diversity of the religion’s followers. The festival included cultural performances, food from around the world, international shopping experience, Arts & Crafts, henna, Islamic calligraphy, and resources and information.

My favorite art vendors are poet Flamuer Vehapi and Beaverton painter Akram Sarraj (read and be inspired by his story here). We ran into another Washington County Democrat, Helena DeCrespo who is also a volunteer with the Save World Art organization. Musical performances were done by Yousif Idriss and poetry recitals by Mohammed Bader. Of course, it was hard to pass the opportunity to eat falafel, gyros, and – my favorite dessert – baklava from Aladdin Cafe!

Patrons were welcome by the MET Leadership Team, led by MET President Wajdi Bek. Familiar public officials like PCC Board Member (and MET staff), Mohamed Alajouri, Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran, Portland Public School Board Member Michelle DePass, and our own Washington County Chair, Kathryn Harrington stopped by to support the festival. Public remarks were made about community spaces to celebrate our region’s diversity and the strength of our connectedness to form a more perfect union for everyone.

If you haven’t been to the Muslim International Cultural Festival, be sure to attend it next summer – bring your family and friends for a good afternoon at Directors Park!