Published On:28 September 2010
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Association of Indian Muslims of America celebrates silver jubilee

Washington DC: The Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM) observed the 25th anniversary of its founding in 1985 with a panel discussion and dinner attended by over 300 people from the community last week in Washington DC.

Along with heads of major Indian-American organizations, several prominent Indian-American leaders attended the event and participated in the panel discussion entitled, “Being a Muslim in India and in America”.

Another attractive feature of the event was a poster exhibition tracing the chronology of the growth of the Muslim community in various spheres in India, starting in the eighth century when the then Arab-Muslim traders introduced Islam in Malabar, Kerala.

The dinner event moderated by Kaleem Kawaja, one of the founders of AIM, saw a string of star speakers enliven the evening with interesting observations about the Muslim and Indian communities in the US.

Datta Paslikar, secretary for community affairs at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC, spoke on behalf of the Government of India and India’s ambassador to US, Meera Shankar. He congratulated AIM for 25 years of meritorious service to the community and for bringing the Indian-American community together. He also expressed his desire to work closely with AIM in his tenure in Washington DC that has just started.

The star attraction at the event was the young Indian-American Muslim, Mohammad Hameeduddin who became the mayor of the city of Teaneck, New Jersey, a few months ago. Hameeduddin who is originally from Hyderabad in India described his quick road to success in American politics as the result of a well thought out strategy of making special efforts to become a part of the mainstream and making alliances with diverse ethnic groups.

Virginia State Delegate from Fairfax County Jim Scott was another attraction whom the audience asked to tell them how to become a part of mainstream America. Scott advised the Indian-American community that perseverance was the key to success in American political system. He told the aspirants for public office that they must work for every single vote and take nothing for granted, as in reality every vote does count. He narrated his own experience of winning the Virginia state Delegate seat by a single vote. Scott told the Muslims in the audience not to be fazed by some anti-Muslim media news reports as Americans at large hold very positive views about the Muslim community.

The keynote speaker of the evening, Sayyid Mohammad Sayeed, National Director of the Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances, spoke about the future of the Muslim community in US. He repeatedly told Muslims that the world has changed much in the last few decades and has embraced diversity as its motto. He exhorted Indian Muslims in America to utilize their pre-existing bonds of growing up in the diverse multi-religious society in India, by forging closer bonds with non-Muslim Indian-Americans who are experiencing resurgence in US. He told the Muslim community that the old days of empires are long gone, and that instead of thinking of past glory, today they have to take greater initiative in building alliances and bridges with a wide range of people of diverse nationalities and religions. He narrated his own political journey from organizing Muslim students in the university where he studied in 1960s to organizing the Muslim community at the national level in US twenty years later.

Earlier in the afternoon Dr AQ Shaikh, the first President of the Association moderated a very thought provoking panel discussion highlighting the current problems that the Muslim community in India is facing and the approaches to resolving them. Panelists included: Padamshree Prof Iqbal Hasnain, former vice-chancellor of Calicut University, Calicut; Dr Omar Khalidi of Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Dr Ahmad Meer, former senior official with the US Foreign Service and NASA.

While some panelists highlighted the lack of government protection of the Muslim community from the sectarian violence perpetrated by some anti-Muslim forces, others exhorted the Muslims to dedicate themselves whole-heartedly to imbibing higher education even if they have to go through physical hardships. Professor Hasnain argued that while Muslims in South India are now competing well with others in acquiring quality education, the Muslims in north India, where most of the Muslims live, are still embroiled in other issues and are still not giving high priority to higher education.

Padamshree Rajan Devdas, Dr and Mrs Ram Singh, Mr and Mrs Kumar Singh, Mr Jay Bhandari and Mr and Mrs Ashok Batra were some of the heads of Indian Associations who attended the event.

(Courtesy: TwoCircles.net)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on September 28, 2010. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on September 28, 2010. Filed under . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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