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CAIR holds banquet in Birmingham

Brandon Moseley

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 By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Sunday, the Alabama chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations hosted its 2nd annual banquet featuring Linda Sarsour, a national Muslim Human rights activist and a key organizer of the Women’s March on Washington.

Ms. Sarsour praised the Birmingham chapter of CAIR for the work that it has done organizing and working on fundraising.

The Alabama Political Reporter asked if she was concerned about President Donald Trump further expanding his ban on specific countries after an Uzbekistan national attacked people in New York City.

Sarsour said that Trump’s reaction to that attack was to call for abolishing the diversity visa, which would keep many more people out of the country.

“People deserve to worship freely and safely and without fear of being massacred. Massacres at elementary schools, countless churches, temples, malls, post offices, concerts, college campuses – where else does this have to happen for us to move and demand change?” Sarsour said on Facebook in response to the Texas slayings.

“Tired of the “don’t politicize this” – entire families may have been lost today at the heels of 58 dead in Vegas and more in between,” Sarsour said. “In Islam, we pray but are called on to act and to alleviate suffering and injustice.  What are we willing to do? Enough is enough. I am not anti-second amendment, but I don’t believe everyone is stable enough to carry guns nor do I think that people should have access to the type of guns that can massacre 27 human beings. The violence in our country is spiraling out of control and we need to come together. Our communities, our children deserve better. Heart is broken for the families in Texas.”

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Sarsour is the co-founder and CEO of Mpower Change and describes herself as, “A racial justice and civil rights activist and every Islamophobe’s worst nightmare.” She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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The well-attended banquet was held at the Haven at 2515 6th Avenue South in Birmingham.

The theme of the benefit was: “With Liberty and Social Justice for All.”

The banquet – which was closed to reporters – speakers also reportedly included Nihad Awad, CAIR-National co-founder and executive director; and Hassan Shibly, CAIR Florida chief executive director.

CAIR-AL’s event also honored two individuals for having made outstanding contributions to their community in building relationships of trust and understanding with the presentation of “Building Bridges, Interfaith Leadership Award,” in recognition of exceptional leadership and devoted community service.

The recipients of the 2017 Building Bridges Interfaith Leadership Awards are Dr. Zaied Mahmood, co-founder of East Montgomery Islamic Society; and Aladin Beshir, member of the Huntsville Islamic Center.

“This event is an opportunity for Alabama Muslims, allies, and community members to come together to express solidarity with each other and in fact with all others in society and stand behind causes that advance inter-faith harmony, mutual understanding, liberty and justice. It is also to honor those who have been at the forefront of this effort at a time when we need it most” said CAIR-AL Executive Director Khaula Hadeed.

The event is expected to draw activists, faith and community leaders and people from all segments of the society.

CAIR describes itself as America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.

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