Massive Turnout at CAIR’s
Keith Ellison is recognized at the 11th Annual CAIR-LA
Banquet for his efforts in promoting justice and liberty
for all Americans. In the picture, from left to right:
CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush, Congressman
Keith Ellison, CAIR California Chairman Fouad Khatib,
and CAIR-LA President Masoud Nassimi
2,000 people turned out for the 11th Annual CAIR Greater
Los Angeles Area banquet on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007
Anaheim, CA: About 2,000
people turned out on Saturday, November11 for the annual
banquet of the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council
on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR -LA). The event helped
raise more than $450,000 to further CAIR’s civil rights
and advocacy work.
The keynote address was delivered by Congressman Keith Ellison
(D-MN), the nation’s first Muslim Congressman. He
spoke on the importance of Muslims being politically and
civically involved in their communities.
Other speakers included Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Imam of Masjid
At-Taqwa in New York; Michael Hamilton Morgan, award-winning
former diplomat and author of “Lost History: The Enduring
Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists”;
Nihad Awad, CAIR Executive Director and Co-Founder; and
Hussam Ayloush, CAIR-LA Executive Director.
The event attracted people from a variety of ethnicities
and backgrounds, including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and
Jews. Additionally, the event brought together representatives
from Congress, mayors, city council members, chiefs of police,
interfaith leaders and officials. Representatives from most
Southern California Islamic centers and organizations were
Hussam Ayloush, CAIR-LA Executive Director, spoke about
the “mapping” of Muslims recently proposed by
the Los Angeles Police Department and reminded banquet attendees
that people should not be silent but should speak out against
all forms of prejudice and profiling.
“Our struggle is not for the acceptance of Muslims
in America, but to protect America ’s soul and great
values from being manipulated and compromised by those who
wish to spread fear, phobia and paranoia…Our struggle
is for an America, as it was founded, to continue to be
the land of liberty and justice for all,” said Ayloush.
At the event, community leaders and public officials also
spoke on the significance of CAIR ’s work. In line
with the theme “Let the Conversation Begin,”
speakers vowed to continue engaging in dialogue, building
bridges of understanding and combating hate and prejudice.
“I am asking you to call America back to its noblest
ideals,” Congressman Ellison said. “As I said
that we are all created equal, that we all should enjoy
due process of law, the rule of law, that we all should
enjoy the right to free expression and free association,
and that we all should be able to escape the application
of religious test on our loyalty or our citizenship.”
Wahhaj gave a keynote address. He also conducted the fundraising
portion of the event.
CAIR -LA raised $454,000, thanks to the generous support
of the community.
For the first time this year, CAIR -LA also had dramatic
readings of select passages from Howard Zinn’s historical
text, “Voices of a People’s History of the United
States.” The passages included letters, speeches and
other testimony given by Cesar Chavez, Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr., Yuri Kochiyama, Sylvia Woods and Paul Robeson.
Among those reading the passages were acclaimed actor Carl
Weathers, KPFK ‘Morning Review’ host Eisha Mason,
third generation Japanese American Nobuko Miyamoto who was
interned during WWII when she was a baby, and actor/activist