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Houstonian Corner (V9-I10)

ISGH Masjid Shows Islamic Compassion

Last December some teenagers from Dulles High School broke into the ISGH South Zone mosque at Brand Road and vandalized the Sunday-school class rooms.

The matter was reported to the police and after investigation three students were arrested. The students admitted their part in the vandalism and were duly prosecuted. The parents of one of the students approached the mosque and asked for forgiveness. In a gesture of forgiveness, the mosque wrote a letter to the court stating that the masjid does not want to prosecute the perpetrators. This had a very salutary effect on the community. The magnanimity and the spirit of forgiveness shown by the mosque impressed them. Consequently the Hon. Joel E. Clauser, Justice of Peace, Precinct Two, along with the Honey Brown Hope Foundation and State Representative Dora Olivo of District 27, decided to recognize the Islamic community for their act of compassion.

A ceremony was held in the courtroom of Judge Clauser, where Rep. Dora Olivo presented a plaque to the ISGH mosque at Brand Road with a proclamation extolling their act of compassion. The presentation was followed by a Panel Discussion on ‘Connecting with Diversity’ in Ft. Bend County, which was conducted by Jerome Gray of Channel 2 TV. Among others, the panel members included Javaid Iqbal, director of South Zone mosque and Syed Azhar Ali Shah. There was a lively discussion.

Both the Muslim panelists, especially Azhar Shah, complained about the bias in the media and the U.S. Govt., and reasserted the peaceful nature of Islam. They further pointed out that most of the hostility against Muslims was due to ignorance about Islam in the general public in the United States and invited members of the public to visit a mosque and “see first hand what is being taught in our institutions.”

Their comments were well-received by the audience, who seemed impressed by the presentation of the Muslim panelists.

PCC-USA host 11th Annual Gala

The Pakistan Chamber of Commerce (PCC-USA), following its rich tradition, held its 11th Annual Gala on February 10, 2007 at the Hotel Marriott in Sugarland. Afsheen Charania and Adam Zaka superbly emceed the program at the hall tastefully decorated by Nargis Fatima.

The former President of PCC-USA, Haroon Shaikh, was the stage & program manager, assisted by PJ Khan Swati, Saeed Sheikh, and Amir Khan. The program started with mesmerizing recitation from the Holy Qur`an by Hafiz Tauqer Shah, followed by an interfaith invocation by Michael Wimberley.

The national anthems of America and Pakistan were played, and the audience gave a standing ovation followed by a big round of applause.

Dr. Barkat Charania, the outgoing president, in his farewell address thanked his board members and spoke of his rewarding experience while serving the Chamber. He congratulated the newly elected team and assured them of his full support and cooperation.

The PCC Gala had a rich presence of local elected officials, community leaders and out-of-town VIP guests like Jennifer Sarver, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce from Washington, DC., the president of the Pakistani American Congress & Chancellor East-West University, Dr. Wasi Khan from Chicago, President Elect-PAC Dr. Ashraf Khawaja from Berkeley, California, and Prof. Faizan Haq, General Secretary of PAC from Buffalo, NY; the president-elect, Saeed Sheikh, recognized all the distinguished guests. Local media was also present on the occasion.

Rashid Khokhar, Chairman PCC-Election & Constitution Committee, announced the official results of the election. The Chief Guest, Congressman Nick Lampson of District #22, administered the oath to the newly elected Board of PCC-USA which consists of the following individuals; Gul Faraz Khan- President, Saeed Sheikh- President Elect, Tariq Zaka- Sr.Vice President, Mumtaz Khan-Vice President, PJ Khan-Vice President, Khurshid Durrani- Vice President, Qayyum Kundi-Vice President, Pervez Iqbal- Finance Director and Mahmood Ahmad-Joint Secretary.

The founding president of PCC-USA, Ashraf Abbasi, spoke about the House Resolution # HR-1 in Congress, which proposes to cut aid to Pakistan.

He asked the Chief Guest and other members of 110th Congress to amend this bill because Pakistan has made unprecedented sacrifices for America. The country and people of Pakistan deserve to be rewarded and not punished for being the front-line state with America in her war against terrorism, he said. Abbasi asked the audience to sign the prepared letter provided by PCC and mail it to their congressional leaders asking them to amend this bill in favor of Pakistan. He also quoted from Rumi’s poetry to support his argument and warned the chief guest that if he would not support Pakistan’s cause, the community would not back him either in his next bid for office. Abbasi said Muslims and Pakistanis in Sugar Land supported Nick Lampson for Congress, and now it is the congressman’s turn to support a cause dear to Pakistani Americans.

Congressman Nink Lampson, in a very articulate and well-crafted keynote address, applauded Allama Iqbal and quoted his poetry referring to the soaring eagle and Allam’s dream of the creation of Pakistan. The Congressman hailed the founder of Pakistan, Jinnah, as a great leader and visionary who fulfilled Iqbal’s dream by carving a country democratically without breaking any laws and without going to jail for a single day.

Congressman Lampson thanked the people and government of Pakistan for being a front-line state with America ‘s war on terror and a partner for global peace and commerce. He applauded the leadership of PCC-USA, and the services the Chamber is providing to the business community.

He assured the audience of his support on HR-1. His address concluded with the presentation of Congressional Recognition to the Chamber. Sara Shakih, daughter of Haroon Shaikh, who turned 9 that day, presented a bouquet to Congressman Lampson.

The incoming president, Gul Faraz Khan, thanked the outgoing board for their service to PCC and welcomed aboard the new team. He emphasized PCC’s focus on the inclusion of the community’s youth and women in the Chamber’s activities and in the sharing of leadership. He commended the publication committee for bringing out the 11th consecutive issue of the “Spokesman” magazine.

Khan’s address was followed by an award ceremony conducted by Haroon Sheikh. Congressman Nick Lampson presented the awards.

The awardees included: Tahir Bhatti of Five Star Merchants for Outstanding Business of the Year; Nasrullah Khan of United Central Bank for the Professional of the Year Award; and the Entrepreneur of the Year Award was shared by Celena Charania and Farhana Swati.


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