On our 40th anniversary, OC Human Relations takes great pride in honoring these extraordinary people,â€ says C. William Wood, chair of the OC Human Relations Commission. â€œThese are Orange Countyâ€™s unsung heroes, the people who dedicate tremendous amounts of their own time with no expectation of reward or recognition to make the county a better place for all people to live, work and do business. At a time in our nationâ€™s history when so many communities are polarized itâ€™s a privilege to highlight the efforts of these bridge builders.â€
The commission published an overview of Dr. Siddiquiâ€™s long listing of contributions: â€œDr. Siddiqi has served 30 years as the Imam of the first and largest Mosque in Orange County. Despite the hate and vandalism the mosque has too often faced, Dr. Siddiqi has always reacted with compassion. He brings a moderate, forgiving, open and embracing approach to his efforts. Dr. Siddiqi co-found the Academy for Judeo, Christian and Islamic Studies in the late 1970â€™s to build understanding between these three Abrahamic faiths and to emphasize their commonalities, despite the political conflict that at times drives wedges between them.
He has led and organized many interfaith dialogues, spoken at the World Assembly of Churches and participated in many seminars organized by the National Council of Churches and the National Council of Christians and Jews. In September 2001, President Bush invited him to lead a Muslim Prayer at the Interfaith Prayer Service at Washingtonâ€™s National Cathedral. The Los Angeles Times, in recognizing Dr. Siddiqi as one of the 100 most influential people in California, described him as â€œ…the religious leader of thousands of Southern California Muslims at a time when xenophobia is running high, he has been a leader in driving home the point that Muslims in the U.S. are peace loving.â€