By Ayub Khan, MMNS
|Dr. M. Abbas Khatkhate receives the Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Award of 2009.|
The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin held its XVII Annual Convention on Education and Gala Awards Ceremony in the historic city of Agra on Dec. 27th 2008. 85 top ranking students from secondary and intermediate board examinations from 22 states of India were awarded with gold, silver, and bronze medals. Scholarships worth over Rs.500,000 were also distributed amongst these students.
The academic sessions of the conference featured a diverse list of speakers from the field of education, academia, social activism, and politics. In his keynote address Mr. A. R.Kidwai (Governor of Haryana) urged the Muslim community to focus on education and development in the age of globalization. Quoting facts and figures on the growth of Indiaâ€™s economy he said said Muslims should not fall behind but should strive to become competitive.
Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, Indiaâ€™s Union Minister for Steel and Fertilizers, called for reservations for Muslims on par with other communities. â€œMuslims should be given reservation. It is as per the Constitutional norms. Article 15(4) of the Constitution allows reservation for socially and economically backward people.
â€œWhen Sachchar Committee report says Muslims are socially and economically backward, they should get reservation,â€Paswan said, addressing an international convention of American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) in Agra.
Seeking to bring Dalits and minorities on one platform, he said,â€The condition of Dalits and Minorities is equal.â€ He lauded AFMIâ€™s work to promote education among Muslims.
â€œSeventeen years ago, we had a dream to see an educated, thriving and a prosperous Indian Muslim community. We feel the communityâ€™s salvation lies in education. It was, therefore, decided that our major activity will be in education. We will not rest until we have attained 100 percent literacy,â€ AFMI president Ali Quraishi said at the convention.
Dr. Nakadar, founding president of AFMI, emphasised the value of knowledge as a tool of empowerment and how it has the potential to overcome most other roadblocks on the road to development.
In a session titled â€˜The Elusive Pursuit of Educational Development,â€™ senior bureacrat Dr. Zafar Mehmood focused on Iqbalâ€™s philosophy of education. Dr. Shabistan Ghaffar,(Member, National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions) talked about the dismal figures in the educational arena of the Muslim girl child.
Dr. Amirullah Khan (Director, India Development Foundation), presented emperical evidence to show that the current under-development of Indian Muslims is not insurmountable and with concerted effort it can be remedied.
Dr. Salman Sultan (Shibli Degree College) presented an overview of the educational situation of Azamgarh Muslims.
Other speakers during the convention included its chairman Mr. Zulfiqar Hussain, Dr. Iqbal Ahmed, Dr. Razia Iqbal, Dr. Aslam Abdullah, Dr. Azim Khan Sherwani, Dr. Shakir Mukhi, Dr. Tajuddin Ahmed, Mr. Abdul Gaffar Shaikh, Dr. Nagamia, Dr. John Dayal, Nilofar Suhrawardy, Dr. Khatkatey and Mr. Amaresh Misra.
AFMIâ€™s prestigious Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Award for Educational Excellence was awarded to MESCO organization from Mumbai. The Mir Taqi Mir Award for Service to Urdu Literature was awarded to noted poet Dr. Kalim Ajiz.
AFMIâ€™s regional programs inspire masses in rural Uttar Pradesh
In an effort to take its mission of educational empowerment to the rural areas AFMI held regional meetings in Faizabad, Hasanpur, and Gonda areas. District toppers were awarded at these meetings. In Hasanpur town an impressive crowd of several hundred people showed up for the meeting and affirmed that they will commit to educating their children.
At Faizabad meeting AFMI delegates inaugurated the Haji Ebrahim Kazi High School in a brand new facility which was built at a cost of Rs. 75,00,000.
After surveying the Gonda area and conducting consultations with local people AFMI has decided to form a committee of committed persions from Gonda, Balrampur, Bahraich and nearby regions to formulate an effective strategy to counter illiteracy.
AFMI delegates also attended educational meetings in Mumbai and Hyderabad.
AFMI holds condolence meeting for terror victims in New Delhi
The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI), in collaboration with All India Patriotic Forum (AIPF), held a condolence meet on Mumbai terror attack and a convention on â€œTerrorism, Fascism and the Challenge of Nation Buildingâ€ at India Islamic Cultural Centre in New Delhi on Dec. 28, 2008.
The meeting was addressed by Dr. John Dayal, Dr. Zafrul Islam Khan, Maulana Kalbe Rizwi, Mr. Ilyas Azmi (MP), Mr. Amaresh Misra, Maulana Amir Rashadi (Ulema Council, Azamgarh), Maulana Badruddin Ajmal and a host of others.
The resolutions of the convention were as follows: a): All India Patriotic Forum unanimously resolve to denounce terrorism in all its phases and dimension and urge people of all faiths to join hands to work for a peaceful India. The participants of the convention organized by the two groups believe that terrorism sponsored by those who use hatred as a weapon to disturb social peace and for social, economic and political gain.
(b): The AFMI and AIPF unanimously denounce all those who use terrorism as an excuse to spread hatred against Islam, Muslims, Christians, Christianity, Hindus, Hinduism, Buddhists and Buddhism and other religion and to persecute ordinary and innocent people of different faiths.
(c): The AFMI and AIPF also condemn all forms of state terrorism and demand that links between state and individual terrorism should be investigated. The AFMI and AIPF recognize the severity of the tension that exists between India and Pakistan consequent to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and proposes that a delegation of Muslims, Christians and Hindus visit Pakistan to convey the message of peace to the political leaders of the two countries.
(d): The AFMI and AIPF resolve that special civil rights acts ought to be enacted to protect the constitution rights especially for the minorities enshrined in the constitution.