1,800 Turn Out for CAIR-LA Dinner
By Sabiha Khan

 
Richard Chavez
Parvez Ahmad
Fawad Yacoob

Anaheim: Over 1,800 people packed California’s largest banquet facility at the Anaheim Convention Center for the Council on merican-Islamic Relations-Southern California chapter’s (CAIR-LA) 9th annual fundraising banquet.
Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, DePaul University, College of Law Offered the keynote address at the event. Other event highlights included an award presentation to the FX Networks’ “30 Days” program. Earlier this year, that program featured a West Virginia man who lived as a Muslim for a month.
In line with the theme “American Muslims: Partners for Peace and Justice,” speakers from various sectors including law enforcement officials, politicians, and religious leaders vowed to work together in building bridges of understanding and combating prejudice and discrimination in all forms.
The event brought together mayors, city council members, and chiefs of police from various cities. Representatives from most Southern California Islamic centers and organizations were also present. Other speakers included Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Sheriff Michael Carona, Orange County, Matt McLaughlin, FBI-Los Angeles, Richard Chavez,Mayor Pro Tem, Anaheim, Sheriff Leroy Baca, Los Angeles County, and Rodwan Saleh, President, Islamic Center of Greater Houston.
Keynote speaker, M. Cherif Bassiouni, Professor of Law at Depaul University urged Muslims to defend this country by defending their freedom. “The reality is that we have to fight for our constitutional rights...We are doing a favor to our adopting country.”

Loretta Sanchez
Michael Carona
Leroy Baca
Tahra Goraya

Law enforcement officials assured American Muslims that working for their safety is a top priority. “You are our brothers and sisters. We stand here to protect your rights,” said Michael Carona, Orange County Sheriff. Matt McLaughlin of the FBI division in Los Angeles talked about the newly created Multicultural Advisory Committee (MCAC), established to create an environment to facilitate dialogue and enhance the relationship between the FBI and the community which is based on mutual respect, understanding, and the protection of Constitutional rights and civil liberties. In an effort to inform the general public about the Muslims’ stance against terrorism, Leroy Baca, Los Angeles County Sheriff, called on all American Muslims to join the “Muslim American Homeland Security Congress,” which will build partnerships, cooperation and assistance between law enforcement and the American Muslim community.
Sabiha Khan, Communications Director of CAIR-LA, presented the “BridgeBuilder Award” to Shamael and Sadia Haque and Dave Stacy. In Morgan Spurlock’s documentary, Stacy, a Christian from West Virgina learned what it is like to be an American Muslim by living with the Haques, an merican Muslim couple from Michigan, for thirty days. Citing the Haque’s example in educating the public about Islam, Khan said, “Open your hearts and homes.”

Sabiha Khan and Sadia Shakir
L to R : Hussam Ayloush, Dr. Cherif Bassiouni and Fouad Khatib

CAIR’s leadership encouraged the audience to individually make an effort to combat the anti-Muslim sentiment in America. Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of CAIR-LA, said that although CAIR worked Tirelessly this year in educating the public about Islam and defending the civil rights of Muslims, their mission is far from over. “Close to half of Americans have a negative view of Islam,” he said. However, offering hope to the audience, Ayloush added that most of these people “are just falling prey to Islamophobia without getting a chance to hear from us...These people are just as much the victims as we are.”
Parvez Ahmed, CAIR-National Chairman, urged Muslims to become more involved in all aspects of society. “To succeed, we must adapt. And we must adapt without compromising our faith,” he said.
CAIR’s accomplishments and work for the year were also highlighted. CAIR handled over 300 cases of discrimination against Muslims; Conducted various workshops for the media, law enforcement agencies, and Muslim community; initiated the Qur’an Project, which resulted in the order of 20,000 copies of Qur’ans nationwide; and organized the first-ever live radio broadcast from a mosque among innumerable accomplishments.
The evening concluded with a raffle drawing for Hajj and Umrah tickets and Islamic art.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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