CAIR Hosts Entertainment Night for Civil Rights

Ahmad Al-Halabi receives civil rights award from Hussam Ayloush

More than 450 people attended the Entertainment Night for Civil Rights hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations – Southern California (CAIR-LA) held on Saturday, May 7, at the Heritage Forum in Anaheim. CAIR-LA honored Airman Ahmad Halabi and Chaplain Yusuf Yee for their civil rights struggle.
The night also included an update on the status of civil rights by Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of CAIR-LA, comedy routines by Stevie Mack and Ahmed Ahmed, and nasheed (song) and hip hop performances by Native Deen and Sons of Hagar.
Before accepting his award, the audience was shown a video clip of Chaplain Yee's experience. Following months of government investigation and three months of solitary confinement on charges of espionage, all criminal charges against Yee were dropped.
In accepting his award from CAIR, Yee thanked the numerous CAIR chapters and community for their support and help in his case and raising funds for his legal defense.

A "60 Minutes" video excerpt shown about Ahmad Al Halabi highlighted Halabi's ordeal as well. In 2003, whileon temporary assignment in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he was arrested on charges of spying and espionage. In 2004, charges against Halabi were dropped.
After receiving his award, Halabi said, "With Allah's Mercy, justice has been served." He recognized CAIR and "family, friends, and community" in their "pursuit of justice" and urged the audience not to "give up in the face of adversity."
In his talk on civil rights, Hussam Ayloush pointed out that while Muslims are the main targets of civil rights violations today, by speaking up Muslims are defending the civil rights of all people in America. Ayloush also underscored the Islamic responsibility to speak out for "all victims of injustice, regardless of who they are, or what ethnic or religious background they represent." He urged all citizens to "provide the checks and balances for our government and leaders."
During the entertainment segment of the evening, audience members laughed through the performances of comedians Stevie Mack and Ahmed Ahmed.
Native Deen performed songs from the new album entitled "Deen You Know". Artists Son of Hagar performed tracks from their new album "A Change".
Commenting on why CAIR chose to combine entertainment and civil rights, Ayloush stated, "God ordered Muslims not to faint nor grieve in face of hardships as long as they have true faith in God."



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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