Some 2,100 people turned out for the annual fundraising banquet of the Council on American-Islamic Relations – Southern California (CAIR-LA) office on Saturday. The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said the dinner, which marks a decade of its service, raised $450,000.
At the dinner, held in California’s largest banquet facility at the Anaheim Convention Center, speakers congratulated CAIR on ten years of service, and praised CAIR’s efforts to combat anti-Muslim prejudice and to promote civil rights for all Americans. The annual report for CAIR-California, which includes the year’s financial report, was also distributed at the event.
Speakers and attendees included Professor David Cole from Georgetown University Law Center, Honorable Curt Pringle, Mayor of the City of Anaheim, Bill Lockyer, Attorney General of the State of California, Orange Country Sheriff Michael Corona, Congressman Gary Miller (R-42), Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca, Judge James Gray, Orange County
Superior Court, Honorable Judy Chu, Member of the California State Assembly, and Honorable John Chiang, Member of the California Board of Equalization. Representatives from most Southern California Islamic
centers and Muslim organizations also attended the dinner. Mayors, city council members and chiefs of police from various cities were also present. (See list below.)
Keeping with the theme of “Restoring the American Dream”, Keynote
speaker David Cole emphasized the importance of challenging post 9/11
policies which unfairly target American Muslims, including ethnic
profiling, preventive detention, the Patriot Act, and maltreatment of
Attorney General Bill Lockyer, one of the authors of the anti-hate crime
legislation AJR 64, assured Muslims that hate crimes against members of
any faith community will not be tolerated. He said, “As California’s top
cop I will not allow it.” Gary Miller urged Muslims to reach out and
educate other members of the community. Sheriff Baca thanked CAIR for
its advertising campaign condemning terrorism. Judge Gray urged that
the “the Patriot Act…be repealed by all.”
One of the highlights of the event, CAIR presented its annual Civil
Rights Leadership Award to Assemblywoman Judy Chu, for her effort and
dedication in passing legislation against hate crimes, and especially
for sponsoring the historic AJR 64 Hate Crimes Bill condemning hate
against Muslims, Arabs, South Asians and Sikhs. Chu commended CAIR for
its outstanding support in proposing and garnering support for the bill.
Assemblyman Lou Correa and the office of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.
presented the Muslim Youth Activism Awards for the positive civic,
religious and social contributions made by people in the community The
Muslim Activist of the Year award went to Imam Saadiq Saafir for his
commitment to building bridges between the Muslim and larger community.
CAIR Chairman Omar Ahmad, CAIR-California Chairman Fouad Khatib, and
CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush provided an overview of the
civil rights group in its ten years of service, and a vision for an even
better future. Commenting on the recent survey which shows that 1 in 4
Americans polled hold an anti-Muslim sentiment, Chairman Ahmad stated
the need to present Islam in the correct way to Americans. California
Chairman Khatib highlighted CAIR’s progress and achievements such its
public service announcements on radios, its library project which sends
fair and balanced books about Islam to libraries, its activism in
support of AJR 64, and many more. Executive Director Ayloush pointed
out that through CAIR’s efforts, accurate information about Islam was
shared with 3.3 million people in Southern California.
The night concluded with a raffle for Hajj tickets, Umrah packages and
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 29 offices nationwide and in Canada.
List of Attending Guests:
Bill Lockyer, State Attorney General, California Department of Justice
Congressman Gary Miller, Member of Congress
Assemblyman Lou Correa California State Assembly
Assemblywoman Judy Chu, California State Assembly
John Chiang, CA Board of Equalization
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney, Orange County, CA
Sheriff Leroy Baca, Los Angeles County Sheriff Dept.
Sheriff Michael Carona, Orange County Sheriff Dept.
Judge Jim P. Gray, Orange County Superior Court and candidate for U.S.
Many chiefs of police and their reps. from various So. Calif. Cities
(including Anaheim, Long Beach, Irvine, Los Angeles, Laguna Niguel, …)
Mayor Larry Agran, City of Irvine
Mayor Curt Pringle, City of Anaheim
Mayor Pro Tem Andy Quach, City of Westminster
Mayor Bruce Broadwater, City of Garden Grove
Councilman Van Tran, Esq, City of Garden Grove
Councilman Kermit Marsh, City of Westminster
Dr. Karen Torjesen, Dean of Religion, Claremont College
Dr. Thomas McFadden, President of Marymount College
Dr. Ananda Guruge, Dean of Academic Affairs, Hsi Las University Los
Angeles Bishop Murray Finck, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
Rev. Dennis Short, Harbor Christian Church
The Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith, Director of Ecumenical & Interreligious
Affairs, LA Catholic Archdiocese Rev. Leonard Jackson, First AME Church,
Los Angeles & LAPD Religious Forum
Rev. Ginny Wagener, Executive Director of South Coast Interfaith Council
Rev. Reese Riley, Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Tustin,
Sr. Marie Gaillac, from Sisters of St. Joseph
Rev. Roy Riggs, United Methodist Church, Corona
Bishop Edward Turner, HOPE for LIFE Foundation
Rev Alexia Salvatierra, Executive Director of CLUE
Preston Wood Executive Director of ANSWER
Karin Pally from Women in Black
Alison Weir from If Americans Knew