LA Human Relations Commission
Honors Muslim Leader
Angeles, CA: The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations
October 5 presented their prestigious John Allen Buggs Award
for excellence in human relations to Muslim American leader
Dr. Maher Hathout before a sold-out audience of more than
After an invocation delivered by Rabbi Leonard Beerman, Rabbi
emeritus at Leo Baeck Temple, the Commission presented awards
to community-based organizations who work tirelessly to promote
greater understanding among Los Angeles' diverse populations.
Among the honorees were the Multiethnic Immigrant Workers
Organizing Network, the Black AIDS Institute, Communities
for Educational Equity, the National Conference for Community
and Justice, and We Care for Youth. Additionally, the Commission
presented its Courage Award to R.J. Cutler, Executive Producer
of the award-winning series "30 Days" and "Black.
White" which both air on the FX Network.
Rabbi Steven Jacobs, Rabbi emeritus at Temple Kol Tikvah,
introduced the significance of the John Allen Buggs Leadership
Award with a reminder that appreciating diversity rarely comes
"This room is filled with powerful and meaningful people
who have dedicated many, many years to promoting inter-religious
harmony and who have worked closely with Dr. Hathout,"
Jacobs said. "Diversity and dialogue are not a matter
of kissing each other on the cheek or patting each other on
the back. This man is about more than that. He's about truth
and being honest in our dealings with one another, even when
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Hathout thanked all the religious,
civic and community leaders who stood by him publicly after
a nasty smear campaign was launched by the Zionist Organization
of America and the American Jewish Committee following the
Commission's decision to honor him in July.
"I thank the Commission and every single one of you --
the real true Americans who represent the way America ought
to be," said Hathout. "Human relations succeed when
people with differences reach out together and build together
a better future while acknowledging and respecting their differences.
After all, across the river of life we build a bridge between
opposite banks. To build a bridge on the same bank would be
easy but silly.
“For those who supported me, I'm really humbled and
indebted for the lesson in the validity and value of interfaith,
intercultural, interfamily, and inter-goodness relations we
are all working for," Hathout added. "For those
who opposed me with an extra dose of passion, in the spirit
of this blessed time when the Muslim and Jewish holidays overlap,
I am extending a hand of friendship, opening a mind of dialogue,
and offering a heart of love. Your children and my children
are stuck together in America. They better learn how to make
it a better place."
This award is a landmark for the Muslim American community,
one which demonstrates their ongoing work to forge stronger
bonds within their broader communities in civic, cultural
and religious life. In order to nurture the health and harmony
of broad and diverse communities in the County of Los Angeles,
Dr. Hathout and MPAC look forward to the opportunity to engage
in open and civil dialogues with civic and religious leaders
to contribute to constructive public discourse.
Founded in 1988, MPAC is a public service agency working for
the civil rights of American Muslims, for the integration
of Islam into American pluralism, and for a positive, constructive
relationship between American Muslims and their representatives.