This year's camp was held in Tunisia between the 28th and 4th of November 2012. The camp involved a variety of lectures by Dr jamal badawi, Fadeel Soliman, Kathleen Naji and Hussein Naji as well as site seeing of the Islamic heritage and touristic places in Tunisia.
NEMA trustees worked hard to make sure that this year's camp will be a useful experience for all of the attendees. For this reason, several meetings have been held to discuss and plan the camp. Also, a survey has been sent to all European countries and prominent individuals to ask about the topics that we need to cover during this year’s camp.
Sunday 28th October
This day was an opportunity to prepare for the big event that will take place on Monday. We have arranged for transportation from the airport to the hotel followed by a small welcome party in the hotel and arranging suitable rooms for families.
All rooms have been set up with all the necessary equipment.
Monday 29th October
Monday was a busy day full of activities and workshops. It began with Fajr prayer followed by a small speech by Dr Hussein Naji.
The first session for the day started at 9:45 am, which included an introduction and a quick overview of the program.
A coffee break was arranged between lectures. The first lecture covered the important topic of "What is a successful marriage for a Muslim" by Kathleen Roche-Naji. After the lecture, Kathleen Naji used the time available for discussions and private consultations.
The second lecture discussed "Maintaining the relationship" and it included a lot of teamwork activities. The last lecture was presented by Kathleen Naji and covered "Parenting and its challenges".
This day was very successful in many ways. First, it helped to resolve the issues faced by the new Muslim families. Secondly, those who are not married yet, learned a lot, and it was actually more beneficial for them because they now know how to solve problems that are still to come.
Tuesday 30th October
Tuesday and Wednesday were left for touristic tours. We started with Fajr prayer which was followed by a speech by Dr Fadel Solimon in the hotel. The bus arrived in the morning and everyone was ready to go.
Out first destination for the day was The Roman Theater. Everything was amazing, it's a very important historical place from the Roman era.
Everyone spent a good time there and they wanted to stay for a longer time, however, we had more sites to visit.
After that we went to visit the Monastery of Berber, based in Matmata. It was really surprising for everyone because the houses and restaurants there are underground. Everyone wanted to look around, but we had to pray Maghrib first. Brother Nour Eldin was our imam when we prayed in a local mosque in the village of Der Berber.
It was really one of the amazing places to visit. It showed how some Berbers lived a simple life away from cities. Reaching the homes of the Berber took a long time, but everyone enjoyed seeing the palm and olive trees. Dr Fadel Soliman gave a small speech and answered some questions.
After arriving to the hotel in Gafsa, we enjoyed a nice dinner. After dinner, the trustees of went through the program of the next day. Afterwards, we prayed Ishaa and sat together for the last talk of the day delivered by Dr Fadel Soliman.
Wednesday 1st November
The day began with Fajr prayer followed by a small speech from one of the brothers. Then a part of the group went for a camel ride while others chose to stay at the hotel and rest before having to leave the hotel.
The second place we visited was Salt Lake, which is a desert full of salt. It attracted many guests as they took pictures of the lovely scene.
The third place we visited on Wednesday was the mountains of Shebeka in eastern Tunisia, where the movie “Star Wars” was filmed. It is really a very charming place, there are waterfalls and palm trees and old houses in the desert. This tour was very interesting and enjoyable for all who participated.
Our final destination for Wednesday was the Mosque of Kairouan, one of the oldest mosques in Africa, which was built by Uqba ibn Nadi’ in 670.
By the time we arrived at the Mosque of Kairouan, the congregational prayer had ended. However, the imam and some of the works were still there and they welcomed us and they gave us enough time to pray. We also took a tour around the mosque and took some pictures.
Thursday 2nd November
Thursday was similar to that on Monday, it included mainly lectures presented by Dr Fadel Soliman. Also sister Aisha Schwartz told us the story behind her conversion to Islam. Dr Hussein Naji presented a leadership course. All lectures are available on the Facebook page.
Friday 3rd November
Friday was touristic tour day which included a visit to the Museum of Carthage in Tunis.
After we visited to the museum, we spent a couple of hours in the market. During that time, we moved in groups and we planned meeting point to be after Friday prayers.
Everybody was still feeling energetic after having luch at a restaurant even though it was nearly mid-day. Then we boarded the bus on our way towards the touristic sites near the Tunisian presidential palace. Everyone stayed here until Maghrib prayer and then we went back to the Roman Baths.
Saturday 4th November
Saturday began with Fajr prayer and a small speech by Dr Jamal Badawi. The first lecture began at 9:00 am followed by a panel discussion. At dinner time we enjoyed the entertainment organised by the hotel.
We believe that this camp was a big success where we achieved all goals and objectives. We also enjoyed our guests and lectures. However, we hope to be more disciplined in future events. Below is a message sent to the trustees after the camp from one of the sisters:
"Salam dear brothers and sisters, I want to thank you for your effort in organizing this fourth annual camp for New Muslims in Tunisia. I've Been there and I really enjoyed the company of my sisters and brothers. I wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed the lectures by sister Kathleen because I learned new things that will help to improve the relationship with my husband and children. But this year I went to Tunisia alone, without them, and when I went back home I tried to apply this knowledge in accordance with the things that I learned from them, so I feel very grateful. I want you to know that the work you do is very important for us. God bless you all. Salam. Yasmin "