(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 9/11/13) - The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today congratulated CAIR-MN advisory board member Sakinah Mujahid and volunteer Mohammad Zafar for receiving the Minnesota Humanities Centers' 25 Veterans' Voices Award.
The 25 Veterans' Voices Award highlights veterans who have made "exceptional contributions to the community, in business, health care, public safety, education, the arts, government or any other endeavor which merits recognition." It features young veterans who "have not merely returned to civilian life but are thriving and giving back to their Minnesota communities."
SEE: Nominated for awards, these veterans are still serving their country (Pioneer Press)
Sakinah Mujahid, a US Army veteran who served for 13 years, uses her own experiences and has become a leader in Minnesota's Muslim community. She is the founder and active participant in a Minnesota advocacy organization for Muslim women -- Sisters Need a Place -- that assists Muslim women and children by finding secure housing and employment opportunities. Mujahid's work with the Muslim community is not only inspirational, but also dispels stereotypes of Muslim women.
Mohammad Zafar, a US Marine Corp veteran, exemplifies a veteran who is giving back to his local community by working to promote a better understand of the Muslim community and building bridges between Muslims and other Minnesota communities. In addition to teaching a Health & Wellness class to Somali youth and adults in Eden Prairie, he created a running event. Through Zafar's event, Running 30 Miles in Ramadan, he motivated Muslims to run one mile each day during the 30 days of Ramadan. Zafar, who lives in Oakdale, serves and interacts daily with returning veterans, assisting them with the Minnesota GI bill through his job at Metro State.
"Sakinah Mujahid and Mohammad Zafar are exemplary members of the Minnesota Muslim community," said CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya. "They have consistently worked to promote a better understanding of Islam and to build bridges between the Muslim and wider Minnesota community."
"When 9/11 took place, it was a shocking and confusing day. What wasn't confusing was my faith, and the values my parents and the United State Marines taught me," said Mohammad Zafar. "It had made me always remember that we need to always stick together."
Zafar, employed by the Mall of America security at the time, rushed to the mall immediately after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 to help his co-workers close it down as a security precaution.
The ceremony honoring Zafar, Mujahid and 23 other awardees will take place on September 11, 2013.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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