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(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 2/13/12) Almost 350 people turned out on Saturday for the 5th Anniversary Banquet of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN).
The program included a networking reception with the speakers and CAIR-MN advisory board members, a silent auction, book signing, and an opportunity to learn about CAIR-MN’s accomplishments in defense of civil rights over the past five years.
SEE: CAIR-MN Banquet Program
In her welcome remarks, CAIR-MN President Lori Saroya spoke of CAIR-MN’s vision in creating a society where all Americans are respected and treated fairly. She said: “We want to create a society where employers understand that the religious headscarf is not just an accessory that a Muslim woman can take off at work; where school administrators create and enforce zero tolerance policies for harassment of all protected classes; and individuals don’t resort to hate and violence of an entire group based on events they have nothing to do with.”
CAIR-MN Advisory Board Member Ambassador Attallah Shabazz was a surprise guest speaker. The eldest daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, Ambassador Shabazz was the keynote speaker at CAIR-MN’s banquet in 2011 and has since joined its advisory board. Shabazz spoke on how the civil rights movement is still alive 50 years after her father’s death and “is seen through CAIR-MN’s work.” She pledged to join CAIR-MN’s fundraising campaign and urged others in the audience to also join.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was the keynote speaker for the event and spoke on unity and multiculturalism. The Master of Ceremonies was Minnesota Muslim community leader Hussein Khatib. The Courage Award was presented to Somali community activist Hindia Ali and the Justice Works award was presented to CAIR-MN cofounder and community activist Fedwa Wazwaz.
Minnesota Somali community leaders presented CAIR-MN with a surprise award on behalf of the Somali community. The award stated: “Thank you for making a difference in our community.”
Banquet attendees included community members, leaders of mosques and Muslim organizations, business executives, and interfaith leaders.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.