After the press conference, Huzoor proceeded directly to the large multipurpose hall in the basement of the Mosque where the reception was being held.
The guests were already seated and at exactly 5.30pm, with Huzoor’s permission, the event started.
Rather unbelievably when the person due to give Tilawat was called to the podium he did not come forward and for a few moments there was a lot of confusion. It soon became clear that he was not in the hall.
The next few minutes proved painfully embarrassing, as Huzoor was present and the guests were all waiting.
Finally, after what seemed much longer, but was probably 4 or 5 minutes, the Jamaat representative given the duty for Tilawat entered the hall and the event finally started.
It transpired that he had become stuck in traffic and so arrived late. I talked to him later and he was very embarrassed and apologetic that he had not given himself enough time. He knew he had made a mistake and was very sorry for it.
The USA Jamaat hosts were also embarrassed and realised that it is not wise to call anyone up to the podium until sure they were physically present.
Secondly, it was important to have a back-up in place for things like Tilawat and hosting such functions.
Thus, for the rest of the tour, at all public events, the Jamaat had people ready as back-ups, in case of a delay to the appointed person.
The next day, I spoke with Huzoor about the incident and it was clear that Huzoor was not happy that such a delay had occurred and that there had been mismanagement. Huzoor reiterated the need for Jamaat members who are given duties to perform them diligently and responsibly.