Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

CAIR Holds Banquet Celebrating Its 20th Anniversary

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

CAIR Holds Banquet Celebrating Its 20th Anniversary

Article excerpt

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a banquet at the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, VA on Sept. 27 to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Almost 1,000 individuals attended the celebratory occasion.

CAIR national board chair Roula Allouch began by acknowledging members of the organization's national board and thanking them for their service. She then expressed her deepest thanks to two members of the national office who have been with CAIR since its founding in 1994: national communications director Ibrahim Hooper and national executive director Nihad Awad.

"Twenty years ago when we decided to found this organization, American Muslims had no institution, no media presence, no political influence," Awad recalled. While CAIR has helped advance numerous Muslim-American causes, he cautioned there are many battles still to be fought. "Islamophobia is getting out of hand, out of control," he warned, stressing that more work needs to be done to research and combat this phenomenon.

Awad also said that more needs to be done to push back against discriminatory terrorist watch lists that target Muslims and to combat the bullying of Muslim students. Many young American Muslims, he noted, "suffer in silence, suffer in isolation, and we would like to change that for our children."

As attendees enjoyed their dinner, event emcee and New York Muslim activist Linda Sarsour presented a series of awards.

The Greater Los Angeles Area office (CAIR-LA) won 2014 Chapter of the Year. Oussama Jammal, secretary-general of the newly formed U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), was presented with the Community Builder Award.

As he took the stage to accept the Courage Award, 15-year-old Palestinian-American Tariq Abu Khdeir received a standing ovation from the audience. In July, the Florida teenager was assaulted and beaten unconscious by Israeli police while visiting family in East Jerusalem (see October 2014 Washington Report, p. …

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