Massive Turnout at CAIR’s Annual Banquet

Congressman 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
About 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 also present.
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 Ruben Guevara.

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