Muslim Action with Massachusetts Governor Patrick
By Tahir Ali


It was a nice sunny Saturday afternoon and despite all that the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (!SBCC) in Roxbury was packed wall to wall with over a thousand Muslim Americans.
Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts kept his word to listen to Muslim concerns and Muslim Americans kept their word by showing up in large numbers.

Bilal Kaleem, President and Executive Director of Muslim American Society (MAS) of Boston, acknowledged the presence of over 30 Muslim Institutions/Islamic Centers, who were the co-sponsors of this event, led by MAS and Islamic Council of New England (ICNE). The theme `Recognition of our presence, our pain and our power' resonated well with the crowd and the Governor.

Governor Deval in his remarks likened the presence of so many leaders gathering, "a powerful symbol." In recognizing their presence he had the crowd jump to their feet when he said, "I have visited you in your Mosques, your businesses, your homes and I know how much you have contributed to Commerce, art, Science and culture and education."

"Yours is a peaceful faith, I know that," the governor said reflecting on the aftermaths of September 11, 2001 and knowing our pain he said assuringly: "I know that people have been afraid and angry, and sometimes that fear and anger is randomly directed at you.'' Deval Patrick appeared sincere when he said " I want us to heal" and "I'll build one Commonwealth for all the people" and together "build a better future".

Governor Patrick answered in affirmative to all of the seven questions put in front of him by various participants, mainly: visiting two more Muslim Institutions by the end of the year; designating a Muslim liaison; discussing the need for cultural awareness trainings; finding ways to target banks that ignore our state's usury cap law; Issuing proclamations to accommodate Friday prayers and to decry discrimination and racial profiling against Muslims.

The agenda was well prepared and organized with various people participating in the program (just to name a few): Dr. Asif Rizvi of ICNE and Dr.
Mazen Duwaji of Islamic Center of NE, Mahmud Jafri of Islamic Masumeen, Tahir Chaudhry and Perwez Wahid of Pakistani Associations , Srs. Sufia Hassan, Heiam Alsawalhi and Eman Atef of MAS, Sr. Suzan El-Rayess of Islamic Center of Wayland, Sr. Aaliyah Turner of Masjid al-Quran, Sr. Naseema Khan of N.E Muslim Sisters Association, Said Ahmad of United Somali Alliance, Sheikh Yusuf Abdulle of Boston Islamic Center and also representing Islamic Centers in Worcester: Dr. Abdul Kader, Farooq Ansari and Tahir Ali of American Muslim Alliance.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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