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CAIR-LA 15th Anniversary Gala a success

November 14
22:51 2011

ANAHEIM, CA: Over 2,150 people turned out for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Greater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA) 15th Anniversary Gala on November 5. Another 400 people watched the events live video stream.
The event helped raise about $410,000 to support CAIR-LA’s civil rights and advocacy work.
Comedian and actor Aasif Mandvi was presented with the “Courage in Media” award. In a speech interspersed with wit and humor, Mandvi encouraged everyone to challenge misperceptions about American Muslims and engage in bridge-building.
Composer and pianist Malek Jandali was presented with the “Freedom in Expression” award for composing a song entitled “Watani Ana” in support of democratic movements around the world. After receiving the award, Jandali thanked his parents – who suffered abuse at the hands of Syrian security forces for Jandali’s advocacy of freedom and democracy – and hosted a moment of silence for the people of Syria.
Also in the evening, Executive Director Hussam Ayloush expounded on the vision for creating CAIR-LA and the Muslim community’s support of it.
“It is not just about our image, it is not just about tolerance and respect of Islam,” Ayloush said. “We have proudly matured into a community that clearly sees its place carrying the torch of justice and advocacy with other communities that have struggled…”
Imam Siraj Wahhaj, religious director of At-Taqwa Mosque in New York, inspired American Muslims to continue to support civil rights advocacy work.
Remarks were also delivered by U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-47), Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D-37), State Senator Ted Lieu (D-28), City of Bell Mayor Ali Saleh, and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.
Community members also heard from representatives of other minority groups which underwent historic struggles to find their equal place in the American society.
JS Bedi
India Post News Service

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