Muslims Stress Unity in Opening First National Assembly on Hill

By Witham, Larry | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 26, 1997 | Go to article overview

Muslims Stress Unity in Opening First National Assembly on Hill


Witham, Larry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


After seven years of preparation, the American Muslim Council yesterday opened its first national assembly on Capitol Hill, envisioning for some 5 million believers a "Judeo-Christian-Muslim" nation.

"There's a possibility in this country that Muslims can all get together and build a unity beyond ethnicity," Sayyid Muhammad Syeed, a member of the council's board of directors, said in a sermon before group prayers in the Rayburn House Office Building.

Founded in 1990, the American Muslim Council had been working for a time like the 1996 election cycle, when its leaders said American Muslims came of political age.

The council was hosted by Democrats and Republicans, conducted voter polls to inform candidates and tracked their impact - 72 percent of American Muslims voted for President Clinton.

"Those who know who is their congressman, quickly go and visit [them]," council Secretary Abdurahman Alamoudi told the gathering of nearly 200 people after prayers.

Visiting lawmakers is only one agenda item for the council, which has 13 chapters, mostly in areas with large concentrations of Muslims like California, Michigan and Illinois.

"Please encourage your young people to go into a life that involves politics," said Randa Fahmy, an Arab-American legislative assistant to Sen. Spencer Abraham, Michigan Republican. "As you know, Muslims are suffering a public relations problem."

The council has bridged the immigrant and black segments of American Islam by electing Dr. Mohamad A. Cheema, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, as its president and Mujahid Ramada, as its vice president.

"Islam is a religion that doesn't embrace victimization," Mr. …

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