CAIR Releases Video of S. African Ambassador's Inspiring Banquet Address

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/3/13) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today released video of an "inspiring" keynote address by South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool at the group's 19th annual banquet on Saturday in Arlington, Va.

At CAIR's sold out event, almost 900 community members, activists, diplomats, and civil rights and interfaith leaders heard Ambassador Rasool salute CAIR's civil rights and civic empowerment efforts, and offer lessons learned from the anti-Apartheid movement.

In his address, Ambassador Rasool stated:

"If your objective is peace, you cannot worship violence as a methodology ... If your objective is justice for all, you cannot do [in]justice to any, not even your enemy. And certainly not fight for justice between black and white while you do injustice to women at home."

He also told the audience:

"Courage is what it takes to be peaceful in a violent world ... We claim courage as our garb, and we claim peace as our objective and our methodology."

"We thank Ambassador Rasool for his inspiring address and hope that what he said about lessons learned during the struggle against Apartheid will be taken to heart by Americans of all faiths and backgrounds," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "I would like to thank all those who supported us at our annual banquet and offer particular thanks to the CAIR staff, board members and volunteers who made the event such a success."

Other highlights of CAIR's banquet included the "2013 Islamic Community Awards" featuring the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Sayyid Syeed, the American Muslim of the Year Award to Linda Sarsour, the Community Service Award to Tarif Shraim, the Excellence in Media Award to Tayyibah Taylor, the Community Organization of the Year Award to MakeSpace, and the Chapter of the Year Award to CAIR-Tampa.

CAIR's Rosa Parks Civil Liberties Scholarship and the Sharifa Alkhateeb Community Service Scholarship were presented to Yasmine Arrington and Aabid Mohiuddin respectively.

The banquet program included letters of support from 60 members of Congress.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy 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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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, [email protected]; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, [email protected]