(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/24/08) – More than 700 people turned out on Sunday in Arlington, Va., for the 14th annual fundraising banquet of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
The sold out event, which organizers called the “best ever” annual dinner for the Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, exceeded its fundraising goal. Demand for tickets was so great that a number of people had to be turned away or given standing-room-only entry. (CAIR dinners at chapters around the nation have been similarly successful.)
At the banquet, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad called on the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama to restore “the rule of law” that he said has been eroded in the past eight years and to form a new government that is inclusive of all faiths.
“The success of this year’s dinner demonstrates both the support CAIR has in the community and the determination of American Muslims to make their voices heard despite efforts to block them from full participation in the political process and from fully exercising their rights as citizens,” said Awad. “This was our best ever banquet in terms of the levels of support and enthusiasm for continuing CAIR’s efforts to defend the civil and religious rights of fellow Americans.”
He told dinner attendees that the “politics of fear” failed to distract American voters from the real issues and also failed to discourage American Muslim voters from going to the polls in record numbers. He cited the distribution of the anti-Muslim propaganda film “Obsession” to 28 million households in swing states nationwide just prior to the November election.
SEE ALSO: Israel-Based Group Behind Distribution of Anti-Muslim DVD
Awad said a post-election poll showed the highest ever turnout of Muslim voters.
SEE: Poll: 89 Percent of Muslim Voters Picked Obama
Banquet attendees also heard addresses by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and from Debbie Almontaser, founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in New York. The dinner program featured the “2008 Rosa Parks Civil Liberties Award” and the “2008 Muslim Community Service Awards.” The evening concluded with entertainment by Muslim comedian Azhar Usman.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 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.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com