Sold-out event raises more than $620,000 for civil rights work
WASHINGTON, D.C., More than 1,000 people turned out on Saturday at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) banquet in Arlington, Va., to hear addresses by several elected officials, including Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress.
The event raised more than $620,000 to support CAIRâ€™s civil rights and advocacy work on behalf of the American Muslim community. (Another dinner held by CAIRâ€™s Southern California chapter (CAIR-LA) over the weekend raised more than $430,000. Some 1,800 people attended that event.)
Elected officials who spoke at the sold-out event included Representative-elect Ellison (D-MN), as well as Reps. Mike Honda (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Albert Wynn (D-MD). Ellison and Jackson Lee offered their addresses by video. Saqib Ali, who was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates (District 39) on November 7, was also in attendance.
To view Keith Ellisonâ€™s address, go to: https://www.cair.com/videos/keith_ellison.wmv
Other speakers included Special Agent in Charge Joseph Persichini, Jr. of the FBIâ€™s Washington Field Office, Fairfax County Police Chief Col. David M. Rohrer and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. Most members of CAIRâ€™s national board also took part in the banquet, which was emceed by Julia Shearson of CAIR-Ohioâ€™s Cleveland office.
Several Muslim community members received CAIR Islamic Community Service Awards during the dinner. The annual CAIR Rosa Parks Civil Liberties Scholarship went to Raashida Muhammad of Stillman College.
â€œWe would like to thank all those who, through their hard work and generosity, made CAIRâ€™s annual banquet such a success,â€ said CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed. â€œSpecial thanks go to all those who volunteered their time and talents to make the dinner possible.â€
CAIR, Americaâ€™s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.