CAIR-LA Congratulates OC Human Relations Award Recipients
Anaheim, CA: The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) has congratulated recipients of "Community Leaders" Awards at the Orange County Human Relations Commission awards dinner. 

The "Community Leader Award" honors individuals and groups who make extraordinary contributions to Orange County in human or civil rights.
Recipients of OCHR's "Community Leader Awards" this year included: Rev. Dr. Sarah Halverson, Vicki Tamoush, and Michael Penn.
*Rev. Sarah Halverson: for being a tireless and courageous advocate for civic and religious organizations and justice movements, such as the rights of the working poor, immigrants, and ethnic and religious communities.
* Vicki Tamoush: for being involved in over 25 organizations and boards dedicated to peace and social justice. She has been instrumental in documenting hate crimes against Arab Americans and has presented 500-plus workshops on hate crimes and cultural diversity issues. She is also a founder of the Interfaith Witnesses group, formed after last year's Yorba Linda hate rally. 
* Michael Penn: for founding the Interfaith Youth Council of Orange County. A deacon with the Episcopal Church, Penn is also very active with the Central OC Interfaith Council. He works with teens of all faiths to build bridges of understanding through dialogue and educational activities. 
"We join the Orange County Human Relations Commission in congratulating our special friends Sarah, Vicki and Michael, who have bravely supported and stood by the American Muslim community in its hour of need," said CAIR-LA President Asem Abusir, who attended the awards dinner.
More information on the rest of the awards and award recipients is here:


Muslim Inmates in LA Receive Halal Meals


Currently, approximately 400 Muslim inmates are housed within the Los Angeles County Jail system.  Since the inception of the Muslim Community Affairs (MCA) Unit, it was determined that there was a need for additional services for Muslim inmates.  Two of the major deficiencies identified were a lack of Muslim chaplains and an inadequate supply of Qur’ans available for inmates.  The MCA actively solicited the help of the community to fulfill these two needs.

 For the past five years, the Muslim Community Affairs (MCA) Unit has worked tirelessly with the LASD Custody Division to ensure that inmates receive services that allow them to freely practice their faith. These services include:

• Modification of existing policies allowing inmates the ability to retain their meals in their cells for consumption at a later time to accommodate Ramadan fasting

• Active recruitment of Muslim chaplains

• Ensuring an adequate supply of the Qur’an are available for inmates

• Ensure religious services are administered at jail facilities

• Provided cultural awareness training to custody staff

Additionally, due to the active efforts of the MCA and Custody Division for the past year, halal meals are now available for Muslim inmates.  This was a long process including assessing the needs, establishing policy and protocols, identifying approved vendors, and finalizing a purchase contract.

Although many goals have been accomplished, the LASD still needs the community’s assistance to ensure Muslim inmates continue to receive these services.  We are actively looking for qualified community volunteers that are interested in becoming chaplains to provide spiritual guidance for the inmates.  Additionally, we are asking for donations of copies of the Qur’an so we may have them available for distribution to inmates, says a message.

The Muslim Community Affairs Unit would like to thank the Islamic Center of Southern California, King Fahad Mosque, and the Council of Pakistan American Affairs for their generous donations of Qurans.

If you would like to volunteer as a chaplain or donate Qurans, please contact the Muslim Community Affairs Unit at




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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