(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/19/07) – Almost 1,000 people turned out on Saturday for CAIR’s 13th annual banquet in Arlington, Va.
Keynote speakers Prof. David Cole of Georgetown University Law Center, Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center and Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) all praised CAIR for its efforts in challenging anti-Muslim bigotry and defending civil rights for all Americans.
Other speakers at the sold-out dinner included CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed, who motivated attendees to give of their “time, talent or treasurer” and CAIR Board Vice Chairman Dr. Ahmad Al-Akhras, who welcomed and introduced CAIR Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer Tahra Goraya to the community. CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier was the master of ceremonies.
At the banquet, CAIR presented its annual Rosa Parks Civil Rights Scholarship and Community Service Awards to students and activists.
Ilana Alazzeh of Maryland was awarded the Rosa Parks Scholarship for her commitment to promoting civil rights and social justice. Community Service Award recipients included: Imam Faizul Khan of the Islamic Society of Washington Area (ISWA) for community service; Sheila Musaji of St. Louis, Mo., for journalism excellence; and Ishan Mandani of Orlando, Fl. for youth activism.
The winning entries for CAIR’s “Let the Conversation Begin” public service announcement (PSA) contest were also featured at the dinner. Winners Renee DePalma, Ruth Broyde-Sharon, and Avais Chughtai, all from California, were awarded a total $10,000 for their entries. (The PSA will be placed online in the near future.)
CAIR also announced the “Beyond Stereotypes” news media education campaign, through which hundreds of media “gatekeepers” nationwide have already requested a copy of the “American Muslims: A Journalist’s Guide to Understanding Islam and Muslims.”
SEE: Beyond Stereotypes
“We thank all those who made CAIR’s annual dinner such a success,” said Nihad Awad, CAIR Executive Director. “The dinner’s strong turn-out demonstrates the tremendous support CAIR has in the community.”
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.