Muslim Inaugural Event Highlights Need for Peace
By Muhammad Salim Akhtar
Washington, DC: On Monday, January 19, the American Muslim Taskforce (AMT), a coalition of 12 major Islamic organizations, marked its participation in the inauguration of President Barack Obama with a symbolic release of 44 “peace” doves.
The AMT inaugural event was described as a “class act” by many who had gathered to witness this historic commemorative get-together.
Loaded with symbolic significance of being held at the Mosque Muhammad located at 4th street northwest in Washington, D C, just about a mile from the Capitol Hill, the AMT event was attended by hundreds of Muslims and friends, and covered by both national and international media.
Participants included people from far and near, from all walks of life, and had traveled from all corners of the Unites States, from California to Chicago, and from New York to Maryland.
“We join the nation in celebrating the inauguration of President-elect Obama, our 44th president. The release of the doves highlights our vision for a just and durable peace. It is a symbolic prayer for a world free of domination, occupation, oppression, violence, hunger and disease,” AMT Chair Dr. Agha Saeed said in a statement read at the event.
The speakers at the event included both indigenous and immigrant Muslim leaders. The Resident Imam of Mosque Muhammad opened the program with recitation of Quran, followed by comments by CAIR's Nihad Awad; Imam Mahdi Bray Executive Director, Muslim American Society; and Muhammad Salim Akhtar, National Director AMT.
Expressing their joy in celebrating the birthday of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, the speakers welcomed the change of command at the White House, the inauguration of President Elect Obama. At the end of the program, 44 doves were released symbolizing the hope for a brighter future, peace, harmony and freedom for every human being in the world.
“As part of our nation’s rich religious heritage, American Muslims are full partners in celebrating the inauguration of President Obama and are hopeful that his presidency will bring peace, prosperity and reconciliation in America and worldwide,” said AMT Board Member Nihad Awad.
A poll conducted by Genesis Research Associates, an independent polling and market research firm, found that 95 percent of Muslims cast ballot in this year’s presidential election –t he highest of any socio-religious group, and 89 percent voted for Barack Obama.
The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Election is an umbrella organization representing American Muslim Alliance (AMA), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Muslim American Society-Freedom Foundation (MAS-FF), Muslim Student Association - National (MSA-N), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), and United Muslims of America (UMA). Islamic Educational center of Orange County (IEC), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) are affiliated with AMT as observers.