Assallamu Alaikom Honorable Community Members,
On behalf of the CAIR Pittsburgh Board of Directors and Staff, we would like to extend the warmest of thanks to all of you for your support in making our 8th Annual Banquet – Crossing Paths: Living in Harmony one of the best banquets we have had to date!
It was actually the first CAIR banquet that our Program Director, Alia Schindler, had ever attended, let alone planned for, so being one of the primary planners was certainly a challenging feat. However, the support, guidance, and countless task-based efforts of the Banquet Committee Chairperson-Ishfaq Ahmad, with the other Board Members-Noor Un Nahar, Safdar Khwaja, Asim Kokan, Azmat Qayyum, MD, and Ezz-Eldin Moukamal, MD really helped to make the entire joint effort a pleasant project with an exceedingly positive outcome. Thanks to all of our guests and speakers who have given us nothing but positive feedback thus far; your supportive response was really overwhelming and humbling, mashaAllah.
A recap of the evening:
Zeshan Hasan began the evening with a heartfelt Holy Quran recitation of Surah Hujoorat, Ayas 10-13. ( http://tanzil.net/#49:10 )
Our Keynote Speaker, Sister Dalia Mogahed presented an informative and eye-opening fact-based speech on some of the primary issues Muslims are facing the United States. She stressed that it is necessary to explain facts regarding Islam (most strongly correlated with polled perceptions), and demonstrated how the hate and fear industry is damaging American democracy and freedoms.
Three prominent young ladies from our local Pitt MSA presented a daring spoken word piece, voicing their perspectives of the current socio-political environment, that left tears in the eyes of many attendees.
The Chapter President, Brother Safdar Khwaja highlighted the challenges that we are facing as an Ummah in America, presented some of CAIR Pittsburgh’s work within the is past year, and pointed out the necessity for our set objectives to increase effectiveness in the near future by controlling our media narrative, broadcasting positive Muslim contributions, engaging in political dialogue and participating in mainstream American activities. He also noted that the addition of a Media Consultant and establishing a Legal Defense fund are two new budget objectives for 2015.
Our motivational speaker, Abu Noaman (a prominent local entrepreneur) presented a touching narrative, and additionally presented Islam as a brand, and he provided his unique business analysis, challenging CAIR to expand our mission to celebrate Islam more, to play more to our strengths, which he defined as the values of Islam, expressing that we should put a spotlight and magnify the tens of thousands of Muslims in the US who personify those values, and lastly, we should magnify them not only in words, but that we should infect the media with the stories and success of those people.
Our entertainer, Baba Ali, presented a spot-on performance that was heartwarming, relate-able, and simply, comical He even cited his own personal benefit relating to a positive experience that he had where his local CAIR chapter had assisted him, and it was very well received.
Sister Alia was the moderator for the evening, and was assisted in the program by two very eloquent speaker introducers -Sisters Elaine Linn and Mariam Shalaby, and alhumdullillah, all had good feedback and lots of support from the audience.
Our volunteers were clearly enjoying themselves, too, while being very professional and ensuring the whole process ran smoothly.
Additionally, a special thank you to the tireless efforts that Brother Rami Daud extended in his photography services. InshAllah we will be sharing pics from the evening soon, so be on the lookout!
Alhumdullillah, the outcome of the donations provided by our gracious guests (may Allah SWT reward them all for their generosity) was humbling, and although we are still short of our target, we greatly appreciate the donations made thus far.
Furthermore, the outpouring of expressed interest by attendees to volunteer with us and to get involved was simply amazing! We received expressed interest on the evening of the event, and have since been receiving an increased amount of emails from interested community members! Alhumdullillah! Please join your fellow community members by responding to this email to let us know of your interest We will be organizing some project-based initiatives very soon, and the more the merrier!
As mentioned above, we are still short of our fundraising target, and we are still accepting donations (Tax Exempt and Zakat Eligible) toward our goal. Please submit your donations toward our cause online http://pa.cair.com/pitt/donate/ or mail them in to:
CAIR Pittsburgh Chapter
801 Negley Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Thank you for sharing an evening filled with inspirations and new connections! Please be on the lookout for future updates and events!
Jazakum Allahu Khairan,
CAIR Pittsburgh Board & Staff