By Mohammed Ayub Khan
TMO Contributing Writer
BURLINGTON, MASS- The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) held its twenty-fifth Silver Jubilee convention in the Boston suburb of Burlington on August 29 with a renewed commitment on the educational empowerment of Indian Muslims. The two day convention was attended by members and supporters from across North America and featured speakers from India and the United Kingdom.
Dr. A.R. Nakadar, AFMI’s founding president and current trustee, said that the organization has been instrumental in promoting literacy and educational at the grassroots level in India.
He said while the impact has been tremendous there is still much more which needs to be done before realizing the dream of total literacy.
“It’s now time for the younger generation to come forward and take the mantle,” declared Nakadar adding, “if we don’t do that then AFMI will remain stagnant and degenerate.”
AFMI’s incoming president Dr. Suhaib Siddiqi said the organization is adaptive to change and has adopted a holistic framework in addressing the issue of illiteracy in India. “We’re transforming the way we operate to continuously improve our ability to improve literacy and economic status of Muslims in India, and help Muslims in India to contribute toward social, political and economic development of India. Our volunteers and partners have continued to meet the challenges of our field and to excel despite the challenges. We should all be very proud of where we are today and excited about where we are headed.”
The keynote address at the convention was delivered by noted journalist and author Carla Power who spoke on her experience of studying the Holy Qur’an with Shaikh Akram Nadwi. She has published her experiences in her new book, If the Oceans Were Ink.
Cambridge City Councillor Nadeem Mazen, President of Zakat Foundation of India Syed Zafar Mahmood, Philanthropist Frank Islam, educationist Dr. Azim Khan Sherwani, Consul General of India in New York Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay (the chief guest of the event), and AFMI supporter Mike Ghouse were among those who spoke at the convention.
The celebration also included the Pride of India award which this year was given to entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Islam.
The Award of Excellence were given to Aliya Khalidi for her achievements in the legal field, Dr. Shameem Ahmed for community service, Humayun Kabeer for community service, Anwar Kazmi for community service, Mohsin Ullah Khan for science education, author Carla Power, and former president of AFMI Dr. Hussain Nagamia for community service.
Frank Islam in his acceptance speech said that it was an honor to receive the award from AFMI.
“It is a distinct honor and privilege to be here tonight to accept the AFMI Pride of India award. It is also a privilege to be asked to speak as a part of AFMI’s silver jubilee celebration,” Islam was quoted as saying.
“I have received many awards. But this one is extra special because it comes from this prestigious organization in its silver jubilee year,” Islam added. “I must admit that receiving this award and joining such luminaries does not make me proud. It makes me humble.”