By Adil James, TMO
About 50 guests participated, including Michigan legislator Rashida Tlaib, the first ever Muslim congresswoman in Michiganâ€™s House of Representatives.
The event was a celebration of The Muslim Observer by people who have come into contact with the paper, who spoke glowingly of the effects of articles published in the paper.
Dr. Shahid Tahir ably served as the Emcee of the event, introducing the honored guests who spoke.
Dr. AS Nakadar, TMOâ€™s owner, founder, and publisher, spoke about the importance of the newspaper, giving statistics to show the reach of the paperâ€™s website and the influence of its articles.
Dr. Nakadar thanked those in attendance for their support, advice, and constructive criticism. â€œBecause of your support,â€ he said, â€œthis is a global paper.â€
He spoke about the recent move of TMO to buy its own virtual server; as a victim of its own success TMO was forced away from its shared hosting environment after its webhost complained TMO was overburdening a shared server.
Dr. Nakadar spoke about TMOâ€™s plans to introduce a podcast, and spoke of the recent move of TMO to be make an app for iphones, and spoke of encouraging young people to engage in writing and journalism, citing one young man who attended the event, Ahmed Al-Hilali, who in fact has been published in the newspaper several times.
Imam Abdul Latif Homa of Masjid al-Falah spoke of the Arab Springâ€™s reach all the way to Bangladesh, and how by publishing an article related to political events in Bangladesh in TMO, the article reached the national Bangladeshi press and eventually came full circle back to the Washington Post and New York Times.
Young Ahmed al-Hilali spoke of the importance of words, saying big changes come from words–in Iraq, he said, one word could scare Saddam Hussein enough to kick a person completely out of the country.
Sadaf Ali, a PhD candidate at Wayne State, spoke of making podcasts in association with Yusuf Begg and Laura Fawaz for TMO.
A new face at TMO, the reporter Almas Akhtar, spoke of encouraging local children to get involved by engaging them through essay contests. Rabia Nakadar also spoke of her plans to reach out to all of the local Islamic schools to engage them in TMOâ€™s work.
Rashida Tlaibâ€™s speech was the best, though. She spoke at times through difficult emotions as she described the vital importance of our having our own media, where we will not shy away from facts that are inconvenient from the perspective of non-Muslims.
She gave the poignant example of her own grandfather, who was shot eleven times for refusing to leave his house in Palestine. His injured but still living body was carried from the house by Rashidaâ€™s mother. For decades afterward her grandfather would describe where each bullet went, which ones still hurt, and he would show the scars to people he knew.
Yet when the Detroit Free Press ran a story on this fact, they retracted it because people said it could not be true–to the point where Rashida herself began to doubt the story and had to have her mother confirm it, describing in vivid detail such a horrific experience. This example shows, she said, that we must have our own institutions to tell the truth. â€œI love mosques and community centers,â€ she said, â€œbut we need so much more than that.â€
The event garnered several thousand dollars in new subscriptions for The Muslim Observer.