Santa Clara County Honors Imam Tahir Anwar
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Glimpses of the function held to honor Imam Tahir Anwar
Imam Tahir Anwar was honored at the 37th Annual Human Relations Awards Breakfast of Santa Calara held at Wyndham Hotel in San Jose on February 27, 2009. The breakfast was attended by about 600 guests. Tahir is Imam and Director of Religious Services at the South Bay Islamic Association (SIBA), the oldest and largest Islamic Center in San Jose , CA.
Introducing Imam Tahir, Dave Cortese, Supervisor of District Three, said that the Imam had been a peace maker in the multi-ethnic and multi-faith community. He pointed out that in the aftermath of 9/11, Muslims have been victims of civil rights violations under the PATRIOT ACT. They have been the victims of profiling at airports too. Under these circumstances Imam Tahir could have been furious but he kept his focus on peace, harmony and the security of the community.
Cortese said that Imam Tahir is well acquainted with the local community because he grew up in the area. He was born in London, England, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1983.
In his speech, Imam Tahir said that with the support of his community he feels at home here. He is active in outreach work and serves on different panels and commissions which include, among others, the Human Rights Commissioner for the City of San Jose. He also serves as a Muslim Chaplain at the Santa Clara County Correctional Facilities. The Imam also serves on the Community Advisory Panel for CPBS ( California Public Broadcasting System), a local PBS radio and television channel. He is the head of the Islamic Studies Department, and an Islamic Studies teacher at the Granada Islamic School in Santa Clara , California. He has taught Hanafi fiqh at the world-renowned Zaytuna Institute.
He has been awarded the Unity in Diversity Award by the County of Santa Clara for his work in the community. The Imam is frequently invited to speak at forums at various universities and religious institutions. He is fluent in English, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, and Gujarati.
Imam Tahir is the second Muslim to be honored by the Santa Clara County. In June 2005, Samina Faheem Sundas, Founding Executive Director of American Muslim Voice Foundation, was given the Human Relations Award by the County.
In 2006 Santa Clara County Supervisor Pete McHugh appointed Samina Sundas to Human Relations Commission of the Santa Clara County, CA. She has been serving as the Chair of the peace building committee.
In her comments Ms. Sundas said that Office of the Human Relations and Human Relations Commission are the heart and soul of the Santa Clara County. We provide a safe platform for the community to share their concerns and issues. “Through our dialogs we foster better understanding among the residents of our county. In today's climate our services are needed much more than ever before.”
The Santa Clara County also honored Rev. Bill Leininger who received a lifetime achievement award named for McEntee, the former Office of Human Relations director who died in 2004.
The county commission presented other awards to environmental activist Ted Smith, Mountain View Day Worker Center Executive Director Maria Marroquin and Bill Kindricks, past president of 100 Black Men of Silicon Valley.
Others who received awards for their community service included the Rev. Dan Derry, pastor of St. Mary's Church in Gilroy; Tamon Norimoto of Asian Americans for Community Involvement; Health Trust Chief Executive Fred Ferrer; and Jewish Family and Children's Services Executive Director Beth Schecter.
Sista Monica Parker, one of the most sought after and admired blues, soul and gospel singers on the international music scene, captivated the audience with her beautiful voice and performance.