American Muslim suite attracts Republican delegates
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
San Jose, CA: The American Muslim Alliance Hospitality Suite at the California Republican Party Convention at the Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, attracted hundreds of delegates and friends of Muslims.
The AMA has been holding Hospitality Suites at both the Democratic and Republican Parties national and state conventions since 1992. (Samina Faheem, AMA National Coordinator with AMA activists and AMA Youth Tank researchers at the hospitality suite.)
Dr. Agha Saeed, AMA Chairman, told Pakistan Link that the AMA is a non-partisan organization and its members are multi-partisans with membership in the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Green Party and Libertarian Party.
He said that the hospitality suite has three objectives:
1. Bringing in large number of people to educate them about Islam and American Muslims. The visitors were provided with literature about Islam.
2. One of the main focuses has been civil rights issue in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
3. Informal discussion with the Convention delegates to build coalitions.
The AMA Chairman said many candidates showed up at the hospitality suite, including David Kawas, Dan Dow, Syed Mahmood and Maad Abu Ghazala. The campaign manager of the Republican gubernatorial contender Bill John spent several hours at the AMA Hospitality Suite.
The Suite also helped in coalition building with the African Americans. The Republican Arab Americans were particularly supportive of the Muslim civil rights. Among other visitors were Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Arab Americans.
Christian Arabs were very much part of the effort to make the Hospitality Suite successful. Dr. Agha Saeed particularly thanked Mr. Johnny Khamis, President of Arab American Congress for his gesture.
Ms. Samina Faheem, National Coordinator of the AMA, pointed out that the Hospitality Suite also provided an opportunity to the Muslim activists, particularly, the youth, to have first-hand knowledge and experience of the national political process. Youngsters from five to twenty years, including Adeel, Abdul Rahman, Zafeer, Adeeb Khan and Azeem Khan, attended the Hospitality Suite.
The importance of the Muslim bloc vote was readily recognized by most of the people - from the Republican Party Chairman Shawn Steel to the youth representatives.
The latest book by a former Congressman, Mr. Paul Findley, “Silent No More: Confronting America’s False Images of Islam,” generated a great deal of interest. Many people wanted to buy the book in which Mr. Findley shares his personal impressions and experiences in dealing with American Muslims. He also examines the false images of Islam that linger in American minds and the impact of these stereotypes on U.S. national interests. The book also spotllights the issues and events that figure prominently in their conscience.
NON-VIOLENCE SOLDIER OF ISLAM: Dr. Agha Saeed said that many visitors were very much surprised and intrigued to know about Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890-1988), the non-violence Muslim philosopher from Pakistan. A book about the Pushtun leader entitled “Non-violence Soldier of Islam” generated great interest. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan popularly known as Bacha Khan, was against violence in any form and for any case.
Violence always promotes a sense of hatred. It is not good for any country or nation because it is ultimately self-destructive. With this belief, Bacha Khan raised the first nonviolent army in history to free his people from British imperial rule. He persuaded 100,000 of his countrymen to lay down their arms that they had made themselves and vow to fight nonviolently.
Pakistan Link - February 22, 2002