SALAM Holds Record-Breaking
Fundraiser in Sacramento
A Pakistan Link Report
above: Glimpses of the SALAM Fundraiser
Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (SALAM) held
its second Banquet Fundraiser of the year on Saturday, November
3, 2007 with prominent community members and their friends
from other faiths gracing the occasion. Close to 300 people
gathered at the SALAM community center on a beautiful evening
to experience fine Afghan dining, socializing, entertainment,
and to engage in a serious commitment to fund Phase III of
the goals of this organization.
This phase involves the building of the Mosque or Masjid plus
a great deal more, making it the centerpiece of this visionary
Islamic Center. This facility is planned with futuristic projects
in mind which include a Library, Book/Gift Store and a multipurpose
hall including an auditorium and fitness center.
The SALAM organization started off as a P.O. Box two decades
ago. Today, it has become one of the premiere centers of Islamic
education and Muslim outreach efforts for the entire Sacramento
region. Its multi ethnic and trans-sectarian approach to Islamic
teachings appeals to many progressive Muslims in the area.
In other words, SALAM is essentially an American window into
the present and future face of Islam in the land of the Red,
White and Blue. Our children that attend its regular day school
or its Sunday school (where Urdu and Persian are taught along
with Arabic), have had a holistic Islamic learning experience,
while concurrently they have not been ignoring wholesome American
The recitation from the Holy Qura’n was beautifully
presented by Khalid Sayedi with a follow up translation presented
by Sr. Lana Tamimi. Emcee Osama Hassoun did a great job that
evening with both the introductions and keeping our wits occupied
with his rare humor, especially while providing details of
his lack of name recognition problems since 9/11.
A high-spirited video of “What makes SALAM Unique”
was shown followed by a detailed presentation of the organization’s
Phase III Project by Javed Iqbal. The $4 million targeted
funding of the project had only been partially realized through
earlier donations while the efforts of the team continued
to satisfy the logistics of this phase. An additional funding
target of $750,000 was set for the evening so that the project
could move forward.
Dr. Metwalli Amer assisted by Imam Azeez made the presentation
of the SALAM Distinguished Award this year to Bassam Dahduli,
a person who continues to inspire others by example and deeds.
Mr. Dahduli, in a moving speech, spoke of investing in the
path of Allah and the continued returns that he has seen resulting
from his contributions.
The fundraising effort was most ably handled by Imam Abdel
Azeez. It was also great to see his significant other and
our Sister Kauthar Azeez getting involved, especially with
a donation from the Sacramento Muslim Women’s Network,
a group that she founded about six months ago. And even after
going over the $1 million mark, the donations just kept coming
in. And they did not stop till just over $1.5 million in checks
and pledges had been received, a record for any fundraiser
that this reporter has attended in this region.
Palestinian-American comedian Mohammed Amer began his performance
quite late. As part of and the most recent addition of the
“Allah Made Me Funny” comedy trio, young Amer
delighted us all with his rare insights into his cultural
heritage. His performance was memorable and warrants a separate
future report. Mohammed left Kuwait during the first Gulf
War while he was nine years old and his family settled in
Houston , Texas. He does the Texas accent really well and
can deliver one-liners that can move any audience.
The final speaker for the evening was Dr. Yahia Abdul-Rahman
who has the distinction of not only being a speaker on religion
but also on dialog with other faiths, while also wearing the
additional hat of a Muslim finance guru. His talk that evening
focused on outreach and interfaith issues, efforts that SALAM
was noted for.
In conclusion, it was great to attend this record-breaking
fundraiser for investing into the future of Islam in America
in general and the Sacramento area in particular. SALAM has
indeed come a long way from its P.O. Box inception. It should
now be able to break ground on its Phase III Project after
the funds that it has generated during this one event. And
for reaching this milestone, everyone involved deserves our