Ras Siddiqui Receives Salam Award for Exceptional Community Service
A Pakistan Link Report
The Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (SALAM) presented Ras H. Siddiqui, a senior writer for Pakistan Link, with this year’s “Distinguished Award for Exceptional Community Services” on Saturday, December 2, 2017.
The award was for 1) His objective and well-balanced reporting, 2) His focus on Muslim Community Events, 3) His even-handedness in presenting opposing views, and 4) His emphasis on those whose stories need to be told.
In his acceptance speech Siddiqui said, “I want to thank everyone here for this recognition, but I do want to stress that I have only documented the excellence which SALAM has represented all of these years in Sacramento as a truly American Mosque - through some very difficult times for our community, mind you. Post-9/11 America has been challenging. But I still remember the Stars and Stripes being raised here and across the street immediately after that devastating event. That was long before we had this beautiful Mosque to pray in today.”
Ras thanked his wife Farah and daughters Mehreen, Ambreen and Samreen Siddiqui (who attended SALAM’s Sunday School) for their many years of support. “Writing reports is not as easy as it might seem. It takes a great deal of time effort,” he said. The support of his family has been critical over these many years.
He also mentioned that this was really SALAM and the Sacramento area Muslim Community which were being recognized here since one cannot write a good report if a worthy event has not been held. Reporters and writers need to be inspired to write and SALAM has provided Raswith 25 years of inspiration, he said. He added that American Muslims cannot and should not live in a cocoon. “Remember that we are all also proud Americans, Californians and Sacramentans. We may be immigrants but our children certainly are not. And we owe a lot to this country,” Ras remarked.
Siddiqui also explained why he has been doing this work all of these years and how some might think that maybe he worked for the authorities. Not true, he said. But America is our home and we need to always make sure that there are no threats to our homeland from anywhere.
On the spiritual side he best described himself as a “secular Muslim”. His definition of that was that everyone should have the right to believe and practice what they want. He thanked his late father and the Brothers of The Holy Cross who taught him in Dhaka (now Bangladesh) many years ago, for helping him keep an open mind on faith and beliefs.
Concluding his speech he thanked SALAM and recited a couple of lines of Urdu poetry by the late Ahmed Faraz:
Zindagiteriatathi so terenaamkihai
Hum ne jaisebhibasarkiteraehasaanjaana
Translated to address to God
“This life was always a gift, and it really belongs to you
“But for how I have been able to live it, I will remain eternally grateful.”