Date of Event: January 26, 2013
by Amber Shaikh
On Saturday, January 26th my husband and I arrived at Masjid An-Noor a little after 6 pm and to our astonishment found that we were late to the MPAC meeting. Unfortunately we had missed the introduction by MPAC’s Vice President Zaid Islam, Quranic recitation by Imam Nazim, President of Islamic society of Niagara Frontier’s, Ghous Yasin’s welcome speech, meeting minutes by Br. Haji, financial report by Bayram Arman, Council of Imam’s report by Imam Dawud Adeyola, and an update on Syria by Othman Shibly.
Fortunately we made it on time to hear MPAC WNY’s President, Dr. Khalid Qazi’s report. He mentioned the many accomplishments of MPAC, such as speaking out against Islamophobia and the recent anti-Islamic events that occurred in Niagara Falls and Jaffarya Center. He also mentioned the importance of MPAC working with government officials and the media, and MPAC contributions such as starting a Hollywood Bureau. Hollywood Bureau serves as a bridge between the Muslim community and the entertainment industry. He also mentioned upcoming events such as the 8th Annual Tent of Abraham on Thursday, July 18th, which is an interfaith event for the needy in our community. He also mentioned the possibility of getting a group of people together to go to Hajj. There will also be another interfaith event with Westminster Presbyterian church on the first three Sundays of this month at 9:30 am regarding Islamophobia.
Dr. Qazi then introduced us to former Somalian Prime Minister, Dr. Abdiweli Ali, who spoke about “Somalia: the rebirth of a Nation”. Dr. Ali said it broke his heart listening to Othman Shibly’s speech regarding the tragic Syrian situation. He said Somalia has been going through 21 years of piracy, famine, and killing. “21 years of civil war has taken its toll on Somalia”, said Dr. Ali. Despite this, Somalia is still a proud nation with its long history and great natural resources. “It’s not just about anarchy”, says the former prime minister of Somalia. MPAC WNY then awarded him with a plaque.
Afterwards, there was an open forum with speakers, Aisha Rahman, Executive Director of KARAMAH (Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights) and its family law division, and Haris Tarin, the Director of MPAC’s Washington office. This seminar was on civil rights, civil liberties, and family law. Haris Tarin spoke about the importance of establishing an American Muslim identity and that if we don’t define it ourselves, someone else will. These speakers were very knowledgeable and I was glad to be part of this informative event, and be able to inform others about this event through our own Muslim media, WNYmuslims.org.