(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/29/14) — Almost 1,000 people turned out on Saturday in Arlington, Va., for the 20th annual banquet of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.
CAIR National Board Chair Roula Allouch opened the banquet, which was emceed by New York Muslimactivist Linda Sarsour.
“I would like to thank everyone who came to celebrate this milestone in the history of the American Muslim community by marking CAIR's first 20 years of promoting justice and understanding,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “I extend my deep gratitude and appreciation for all the past and present staff, board members, volunteers, and supporters who helped CAIR grow and expand our work for justice, understanding, and equality.”
At CAIR's sold-out event, community members, activists, diplomats, and civil rights and interfaith leaders also heard from Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), who accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who received CAIR's American Muslim of the Year Award. Civil rights leader and MSNBC host Rev. Al Sharpton sent a message by video.
CAIR named its Greater Los Angeles Area office (CAIR-LA) as 2014 Chapter of the Year and presented a leadership award to its previous National Board Chair Omar Zaki.
Oussama Jammal, secretary general of the newly-formed US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), received CAIR's Community Builder Award, and Florida teenager Tariq Abu Khdeir accepted a Courage Award for speaking out after he was beaten and detained by Israeli authorities.
CODEPINK, a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement, accepted CAIR's award for 2014 Community Organization of the Year.
The Sharifa Alkhateeb Community Service Scholarship was presented to Loyola University student Tasniya Sultana.
To close the evening, attendees enjoyed a performance by the singing group Native Deen.
The banquet program book included letters of support from 61 members of Congress. Attendees could also visit a room with displays about CAIR's work over the past 20 years.
CAIR 20th Anniversary: Islamophobia and the Civil Rights Movement
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, firstname.lastname@example.org