AMWEC Organizes A Successful Conference again
A  Pakistan Link Report

The American Muslim Women’s Conference (AMWEC) brought together once again more than 500 American  Muslim women from around the nation under one roof . After the success of the first historic conference, hailed by some as the American Muslim women’s Civil Rights Movement, the second conference attracted many more people.

An impressive flag salute ceremony and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Officer Currie and many other officers of the LAPD.  The conference started with  welcome address by the founder, Anila Ali, which was followed by a general session with such outstanding speakers such as L.A.’s Sheriff Lee Baca, who commended the efforts of Muslim women who have given voice to their issues and concerns. Being a great supporter of the American Muslims, he renewed his support for this women’s movement for empowerment. LAPD’s Deputy Chief Michael Downing and his dedicated team of officers showed their solidarity and commitment to the Muslim community. In his speech, Chief Downing reminded the audience of the need to continue work to empower American Muslim women and assured the audience of his department’s support in this cause. LAPD’s first Muslim Chaplain, Brother Qazi, brought many young Muslim Americans to build bridges with AMWEC and to promote the engagement of Muslim youth in public service.

A young Muslim journalist and blogger for Los Angeles Times, Mona Shadia, gave an inspirational speech about her struggles and her path to success as a journalist. Mrs. Fatima Sultan, Zanbeel Art, sponsor of the literary segment of the general session, introduced a Pakistani writer, Nafisa Haji. Nafisa Haji, also talked about her struggles growing up as a Muslim woman and finally overcoming all obstacles to become a published writer. Nafisa  talked about her recent book, The Sweetness of Tears.

Amongst other prominent speakers was Assistant Director in Charge (ADIC) of the Western Region, Steve Martinez. ADIC Martinez was impressed by the efforts of the AMWEC to bring Muslim women’s issue to the forefront, but also appreciated the commitment of the AMWEC to build bridges with law enforcement agencies and the Muslim community. Brother Jihad Turk, also gave an enlightening view of women’s rights in Islam and answered many questions that attendees had about women and Islam.

Congresswomen Judy Chu, who is a great role model for all minority women in America, is a strong advocate of human rights and a voice for all minorities, gave the keynote address. She gave a stirring speech and urged Muslim  women to come forward and engage in public life and be active in their communities.The Congresswoman lauded the role of American Muslim women, like the women of AMWEC, who have come forward to take leadership roles. Congresswoman Chu gave congressional certificates of recognition to the AMWEC board.  After the general session, the audience attended break-out sessions by Jim Alvino, Monetizing Your Niche, FBI- Knowing Your Civil Rights, Iram Parveen Bilal- women as Entrepreneurs, and Women’s Health by Dr. Yasmin Qasim.

After lunch a fashion show, which showcased the clothes from Yasmin Boutique, organized by Fatima Waqar Khan and conducted by Dr. Yasmin, thrilled the crowd. The fashion show, featuring Cal State Fullerton students, was inaugurated by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez who gave a riveting speech to inspire the women in attendance. She was pleased by  AMWEC’s efforts to give women a forum to discuss issues and provide help and guidance to those in need. She presented all board members with congressional certificates of recognition. Consul General of Pakistan, Mrs. Riffat Masood also attended the fashion show. The show was followed by a bazaar featuring women entrepreneurs and non-profits run by women.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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