Houstonian Corner (V9-I18)

“Muslim Media Network Will Bring Pro-Activeness In Our Community”: Dr. AS Nakadar

The Muslim Media Network organized a seminar entitled: Emergence of a National Muslim Media Network for a Dynamic and Effective Community in a Plural Society.

The seminar was coordinated by Abdullah Jaffari, a well-known social services figure in Houston. Speakers included Dr. AS Nakadar, Publisher and CEO of The Muslim Observer (TMO), Dr. Aslam Abdullah, Editor-in-Chief of TMO, Zaf Tahir, Secretary of the Pakistani-American Council of Texas (PACT) and AJ Durrani, Coordinator of the Coalition of New American Communities (CONAC).

Dr. Aslam Abdullah said Muslims can never show apathy about where they live. He said that since in the USA they have not yet done something credible with which they can be identified, they need to keep striving for the best. There are so many social problems they can address, like homelessness, hunger, poverty, etc. in the USA–if Muslims can become champions of social work, which he said is the essence of Islam, they will be understood as friends of human beings. Dr. Abdullah cited one example from Las Vegas, where Muslims initiated a humanitarian project and it has been embraced by the whole city. After that, no matter what ever happens elsewhere, the Muslims of the USA will have proven their worth as associates of mankind.

Dr. Abdullah emphasized that all this is possible if there is a viable media network encouraging the community to perform their duties towards fellow human beings, and such efforts are then given proper coverage. This is where the emergence of a national Muslim Media Network is inevitable, and the first step towards that is to strengthen the existing Muslim media, like The Muslim Observer, by subscribing to the newspaper and by sponsoring subscriptions for libraries, hospitals and congresspersons.

Dr. Nakadar explained that our country is facing various issues and challenges which can be resolved through the proactive participation of people in the public square of the US, and one of the essential elements is an effective national community media network reaching out at the grassroots level.

He said there is a corporate media that is creating sometimes false perceptions of people, but the real solutions will come from independent grassroots level community media, which is not being influenced by any interest group. Their only interest is to serve the society and bring harmonious change in perceptions.

Dr. Nakadar further emphasized the need to have think tanks working together with the media. The think tanks would be conducting research on various issues facing the contemporary world and the media will disseminate the research in an effective manner: encouraging the communities to be pro-active and reaching out and creating awareness on all of the various concerns.

Dr. Nakadar added that the main western media enjoys creating a perception of Islam as a violence-prone religion and negating Islam’s inherently good, beautiful, and peaceful nature.

The national media network and research think tanks will negate these false perceptions through proper dialogue and discourse.

All this requires the first small step by the community by subscribing for $50/Year to The Muslim Observer. If someone is already getting TMO, they can sponsor subscriptions for relatives, friends, libraries, hospitals and congresspersons.

Just visit http://www.muslimobserver.com and click on the “subscriptions” button.

Zaf Tahir, who is vying for the City Houston At-Large 5 seat in November 2007 Elections, talked about the importance of Candidate forums organized by PACT to increase the awareness of the community about the real issues facing the society at-large. AJ Durrani explained how grassroots level political activism can bring good results for the community, while bringing diverse solutions to the problems of the contemporary world.

During the seminar, it was also mentioned that there is an urgent need to have an active national Muslim media network to positively impact various aspects of a plural society including the upcoming elections of 2008.

This Seminar, held in a Town Hall Meeting style, ended with lunch at Shahnai Restaurant – 5920 Hillcroft – Suite “D” – Houston – Texas 77036.

Again, to subscribe for the Muslim Observer, visit http://www.muslimobserver.com.

Council Member MJ Khan Honored With CIS Award

The Department of State hosted a special naturalization ceremony for 50 new Americans, where Houston City Council Member MJ Khan received the “Americans by Choice Award.” Director Emilio Gonzalez, USCIS, swore in 50 new Americans in Washington and gave welcoming remarks. Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State, gave the keynote address to the new Americans. Mr. Greg Christian, District Director of USCIS Washington District, welcomed and presented the 50 candidates for U.S. citizenship.

Held in the Benjamin Franklin room at the Department of State, USCIS Director Gonzalez presented the “American By Choice Award” to naturalized US citizens in recognition of their outstanding achievements. Recipients of this honor have demonstrated their commitment to this country through civic participation, professional achievement, and responsible citizenship. They have shown unwavering dedication to the common civic values that unite Americans. Along with Houston City Council Member Khan, The “Americans By Choice Award” was also presented to Dina Habib Powell, Assistant Secretary of State, Farroqu Kathwari, Chairman, President and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc. and Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo.

Councilmember Khan, a native of Pakistan, was elected to Houston City Council, District F in December of 2003. He has a long record of community service in Houston and has worked diligently as the Chair of the International Liaison and Protocol Committee to facilitate open dialogue between delegations from the U.S. and abroad.

Khan was recently in Doha, Qatar as a representative for the State Department’s U.S. Speaker and specialist program, and looks forward to other opportunities to serve as a liaison for Houston and the U.S.

As Councilman Khan stated, “Receiving the Americans by Choice Award is a great honor. I am very appreciative of this award and committed to serving my country in every capacity. ”