SALAM Holds Record-Breaking Fundraiser in Sacramento
A Pakistan Link Report

Pictures above: Glimpses of the SALAM Fundraiser

The 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 values.
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 heartiest congratulations.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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