Muslim professionals, entrepreneurs, and media and marketing executives will meet to share their experiences during the second annual Muslim Consumer Conference on Oct. 30.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, the focus will be on dispelling negative stereotypes of Muslims by highlighting their contributions to America’s society and economy, according to the conference’s organizers. There are 6 million to 8 million Muslims living in America, mostly in New York, New Jersey, Houston, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles and about 150 to 200 mosques in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including South Brunswick, New Brunswick, Old Bridge, Passaic County, Teaneck and Trenton.
The objective of the conference is to create an awareness of Muslim consumers, their buying power and their presence in mainstream media and the advertising industry, and in turn influence companies and Muslim entrepreneurs to develop products and services for Muslims, based on Islamic principles.
“In the late ’90s, much was written about the Hispanic market, and it was lost in the mainstream media without any action until early 2000,” said Faisal Masood, who founded the conference with his wife, Sabiha Ansari. “At this time the ethnic market started to reach a sizable opportunity for companies to target, and today this market stands at $1.4 trillion. American Muslim consumers today stand at $170 billion, according to JWT, one of the largest advertising agencies, and this is expected to grow rapidly as population expands and younger Muslims start working.”
Masood, of North Brunswick, is also the founder of MuslimLink.org, a social media platform that connects Muslim professionals, businesses and organizations. He decided to hold the conference last year after reading a 2007 New York Times article that mentioned that Muslims spend $170 billion in America and that the American Muslim market is highly educated and fast growing.
“This is important because we want to highlight how Muslim Americans are contributing to the growth of the economy and how they are a very important fabric of this society. Muslims are entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, technologists, scientists, teachers and professors, to name a few. This is not a religious conference, but a marketing and business conference, which highlights the needs of Muslims based on their values and principles and how mainstream companies can take the opportunity to address their needs,” Masood said.
The keynote speaker this year will be Miles Young, CEO of Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide, one of the largest marketing and advertising companies worldwide. Other guest speakers include Steven Pilchak, a general manager for Best Buy in Dearborn, Mich.; Dr. Mehmood Khan, senior vice president and chief scientific officer of PepsiCo; Adnan Durrani, chief halal officer for American Halal Co. Inc.; Tariq Farid, founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements International; Dalia Mogahed, senior analyst and executive director of Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; and Hollywood actor Faran Tahir who played Raza in the movie “Iron Man.”
“Last year’s event was very successful,” Masood said. “Over 250 people attended, mostly attended by Muslim entrepreneurs, business leaders, community leaders and successful professionals.”
Tickets for the conference are $89 in advance or $99 at the door, including breakfast and lunch.
For more information visit www.americanmuslimconsumer. com.