IFTAR WITH MUSLIM COMMUNITY LEADERS
20 SEPTEMBER 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a distinct pleasure for me and my colleagues to be here tonight, in the good company of such a distinguished audience of Muslim community leaders in Washington D.C. area.
I would like to express my gratitude for this opportunity offered to us by the leadership of CAIR and Executive Director Dr. Nihad Awad in particular, to meet and interact with the representatives of the Muslim community here. I am also happy that President of CAIR Dr. Parvez Ahmad is with us.
Let me start at the outset by congratulating you on the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, praying to God Almighty to accept your fasting and prayers during this month, and to bestow upon you in these sacred days his mercy, bounty and benedictions as well as to grant our Muslim Ummah, the world over, the means to restore confident in itself and in the holy and universal message of Islam rooted in peace, justice, compassion, tolerance, equality and recognition of the other.
It is indeed very heartening for us in the OIC to see the Council on American-Islamic Relations has managed to forge its way, so admirably and with diligent work, to become a leading voice for Islam in America, and a dynamic contributor for justice and mutual understanding.
The CAIR’s growing numbers of dedicated personnel and its volunteers across the United States as well as its sustained efforts in defending the causes of the Muslims, attest to the validity of its leadership, and effectiveness of their work.
We in the OIC know very well the difficulties surrounding your work. We admire the way you have conducted yourself in wisdom and perseverance.
One of the major problems we are facing in the Muslim world is the acts of violence and terrorism which occur from time to time, and smear the image of Islam in the eyes of many in the world. We in the OIC are now dedicated to a sustained effort to combat this tendency through raising awareness among Muslim youth regarding the value of moderation in Islam. As decided in the Ten year Programme of Action adopted by the Third Extraordinary OIC Summit Conference which was convened in Makkah in December 2005, the Islamic Fiqh Academy, which is a subsidiary organ of the OIC was overhauled and restructured to streamline and organize the Islamic fatwas declared on major issues concerning the Islamic faith, in order to suppress the fatwas issued by fanatics and extremists. In this context we are aiming at subduing the voices of extremists in favor of the Islamic mainstream trend built on moderation, compassion and tolerance. In doing so, we hope that we will reduce one of the main root causes of violence which encourage the detractors of Islam to attack us and inflame the sentiments.
Your network of interactive communications with the mainstream political, social and religious groups of your societies, has helped you to become an indispensable factor in various communities, thus helping you to make the voice of Islam heard and respected.
As a non-profit, grassroots civil rights and advocacy group, CAIR has managed since its inception 13 years ago to become the largest mainstream Muslim civil liberty group in the United States.
You have been able, over the years, to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue and mutual understanding, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, promote justice, and more importantly to defend Islamic causes and correct many false perceptions against Islam and Muslims.
The Muslim world is in fact, indebted to you for all the aforesaid, and pray that you will continue, in this positive attitude which have earned you the trust and confidence of the American people and officials, as well as that of the Muslim world, in general, and the OIC in particular.
Your mission in these trying times and defining moments in the history of Islam and Muslim is very crucial. Working in the land of the only superpower in the world whose decisions and stands have a global bearings on Islam and Muslims, cannot be underestimated. This means that your action here has also international dimension.
Your various activities and mainly your interfaith relations, your effort to educate others about Islam while building relationship with other communities is very much appreciated. We hope that you will mobilize resources and efforts to the intellectual field, drawing on the intellectual resources in the Muslim world of scholars and thinkers to assist you in combating the campaign of profiling and denigrating Islam in the institutes of learning and university campuses across America. Disseminating negative perceptions about Islam in these places carries a subtle danger on the future generations, and might affect negatively the image of Islam in the intellectual circles for generations to come.
We pray God Almighty to grant you continued vigour, strength, vision and wisdom to keep course in the service of our great faith, and great Muslim Ummah.
Thank you CAIR and God bless you all.