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American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) Convention

By Syed Sadat, Special to Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

New York: Islam gives a high priority to education. Numerous verses of Qur`an point to the importance of knowledge. Ahadith value the ink of the scholar over the blood of a martyr, encourage believers to seek knowledge even unto China, inform us that knowledgeable Muslims are harder on evil than many ignorant worshippers.

Poverty, ignorance, and many worries and fears are due to lack of cultivating a better realization of life. Dr. Nakadar, who seventeen years ago brought different Muslim groups that are working in USA together to make a Federation of Indians in the US, known by the acronym AFMI. Its mission is to spread education by wiping out illiteracy in the Indian Muslim community.

The Sixteenth Annual Convention on Saturday September 16th at the Marriot Long Island had for its theme, “Education in Emerging India: Ensuring Progress and Prosperity for All.” The speakers and luminaries kept to this topic for their addresses. The invited dignitaries from India who attended the Gala Event were Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad, State Minister of External Affairs E. Ahamed, US Open doubles champion Leander Paes, Actor-Producer Sanjay Khan, editor of the renowned paper Asian Age and noted journalist M.J. Akbar, and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Ashok Kumar Saxena.

The Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad, accepting the prestigious AFMI’s Pride of India Award, emphasized in his speech that education at the grass-roots level will make a difference in emerging India to bring all-around progress and prosperity. India in this age of technology is becoming more and more competitive and is an important partner in the global economy.

The recent invitation for India to attend the G-8 meeting was an acknowledgement of this fact.

MJ Akbar, another recipient of AFMI’s Pride of India award in the field of journalism, spoke with clarity on the topic of terrorism and Islam, emphasizing the need for right education in this direction. He said, “There is nothing like Islamic Fascists or there is something called Islamicism. Islam is Islam, there is nothing like Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism in it. It says God is one and work to earn His pleasure. He also said that “minority” word indicates your weaknesses, when you have power or are in power, the word “minority” disappears.

Ace tennis player Leander Paes, while accepting the Pride of India Award for sports, said he felt highly honored and wished there were more organizations like AFMI which focus on uplifting the weaker section of society. “I highly appreciate their commitment and sincere endeavor.”

Actor, Filmmaker and TV serial producer Sanjay Khan, recipient of AFMI’s The Excellence Award, expressed his delight to be invited to the function, as AFMI’s causes are noble and address the needs of the hour. He said that what he is doing with his serials and productions, AFMI is doing on the grass roots level. Let education be accessible to all. He assured AFMI of his services for the cause.

Dr. Nazir Morbi, co chair of the convention, welcomed the guests.

Founding president and now trustee Dr. A.S. Nakadar highlighted AFMI’s vision for education in the coming years. National President AFMI, Syed Akram emphasized the need for the introduction of technological advances in educational tools. Dr. Shakir Mukhi, the incoming national president of AFMI, said it is incumbent upon all of us to do whatever we can in the field of education that would help uplift the weaker section of the society.

The convention hall was filled to capacity, with an estimated crowed of over 400 guests. Many couldn’t find seats and had to watch the proceedings standing.

Following is the list of some of the dignitaries and prominent community leaders who were in attendance: The Consul General of India in New York, Mrs. Neelam Deo; New Jersey legislator Mr. Upendra J. Chivukula, who presented AFMI with a NJ Governor’s proclamation; representatives from Nassau County, who also presented AFMI with proclamations; HR Shah, the president of TV Asia; Dr Habib Ahmed, President of the Islamic Center of Long Island, NY; Dr. Mohinder Gupta, President of the American Aassociation of Physicians of India (AAPI); Dr. Majid, President of the American Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America. (AAPNA), Dr. Sudhir M. Parikh, community activist and philanthropist, Mrs. Anu Peshawaria, a human rights activist from LA, and many other prominent personalities attended and participated in the banquet program. The program started at 10 am and concluded at about midnight. In between, there were different sessions, workshops, and meeting of the executives and members. The following resolutiona were adopted unanimously by AFMI’s general body on September 17, 2006:


1) AFMI welcomes the formation of the Prime Minister’s High Level committee headed by Justice Sachar, and the 15 point program of Prime Minister Manmohan Singhji for overall development of minorities, and expects the implementation of the comprehensive report of the Sachar committee.

2) AFMI appreciates and welcomes the ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India’s recent reservation policy of 27% in higher education and professional development in elite and major educational institutions for “Other Backward Classes (OBC’s).” AFMI further feels that this initiative by Government of India is timely for providing equitable opportunities for all sections of the society.

3) AFMI categorically rejects the idea of compulsory or mandatory singing of Vande Mataram.

AFMI is proud of India’s democratic, secular and pluralistic ideals and discontent with the recent controversy of the song by a certain segment of society. According to Article 13(2) of the constitution of India which clearly debars the Parliament from enacting any law that may violate the fundamental rights of India’s citizens. The forced singing of Vande Mataram is a grave violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed to every citizen of India.


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One comment
  1. syed fazil hussain parvez

    December 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Gawah Urdu weekly the yderabad based urdu tabloid is bringing out a special edition on the eve of AFMI convention which is about to held in the Hyd. from 27th Dec. to 31st Dec.

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