MPAC Convention Makes History with a Multifaith Audience at All Saints Church
Los Angeles: Full of firsts, the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s 12th Annual Convention, which explored “Our Future in the Making,” was a huge success with almost 1,000 participants in attendance.
The first Muslim convention held in a church, it drew people from all faiths on a bright Saturday afternoon for lively and candid discussions from a prominent lineup of speakers about the current state of the American Muslim community, where it is headed and what is needed to achieve peace and mutual understanding.
According to an MPAC press release, the lineup of speakers included prominent Los Angeles interfaith leaders, journalists and young American Muslims, who shared the civic projects they are working on in their communities.
A sold-out banquet that evening followed the convention with keynote speakers Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) and NFL players, Hamza and Husain Abdullah, who spoke passionately about the importance of civic engagement and working together for change and positivity.
Honda thanked MPAC and All Saints Church for standing strong in the face of bigotry and racism.
“If MPAC existed in 1939, ‘40, ‘41, ‘42, Japanese Americans would never have been sent to [internment] camps,” Honda said. “No one said that this is wrong and you are inaccurate. The community was too weak and didn’t have a voice. [MPAC is] creating the voices and the strength and resilience and ability to rapidly respond to anything that will put you in the bad light. [Internment] happened only because we looked like the enemy. MPAC is one of the organizations that will disallow the nonsense that Peter King is trying to do.”
Meanwhile, the Abdullah brothers shared the lessons they had learned since deciding to take a year off from the NFL in order to complete their hajj (pilgrimage), from their nationwide travels with “30 Mosques in 30 Days” to their journey with family to Mecca.
“We're just two street kids from Pomona, CA. We wanted to be good and do good toward others,” Hamza Abdullah said. “I need to be a better person, a better American, a better Muslim, because we all want for our neighbors what we want for ourselves.”
Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice Thomas Perez also sent a special message about working with MPAC on a wide range of civil rights issues.
“The civil rights of Muslims are not simply a Muslim issue. They are far broader,” Perez said.
“People of all faiths stand united in building an America that is truly inclusive and embraces our diversity. Attacks of hate are attacks on humanity and against human decency, and the interfaith community has rightfully said that we need to respond as one.”
Attendees from as far as New Jersey came to the Convention to take part in the conversation about the importance of working together, as well as letters of support from as far away as Turkey and India.
“What can we do to stop the hate? We need to invite people in, as all of our faiths say. We need to clothe and feed the people and help each other out," said Nirinjan Khalsa Singh, the executive director of the California Sikh Coalition, during “Faith, Authority & Freedom,” the final session of the Convention. “Nobody should insult Prophet Muhammad. Nobody should insult Sikhs. Nobody should insult any person of any faith.”
Stressing the importance of civic engagement, MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati took the stage during the banquet to present highlights of the past year in government, interfaith and media relations, including MPAC's election campaign “My Faith. My Vote. My Future,” Hollywood engagement and the Young Leaders Program.
In the past year alone, MPAC has combated hate through its “No to Hate. No to Violence.” campaign, raised our voice with more than 300 media appearances, mobilized and inspired our community by addressing taboo and controversial issues, and brought your concerns to key decision makers in government and Congress, says the press release. It adds:
Please help us raise $50,000 before the end of the year, so that we can strengthen our voice for freedom, equality, and a better future for all Americans. Your contribution is tax-deductible and zakat eligible, and makes a world of difference in MPAC’s ability to fulfill its mission.
Pakistan Consul General Mrs Riffat Masood was honored at the convention in recognition of her services.
Founded in 1988, MPAC is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of American Muslims.
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