With great humility, deep thanks, and sincere gratitude, I accept this award, at a time when our community is still, after ten years, collectively paying the price for the tragic events of 9/11 and the actions of a vile few. We are in a time where this great nation has lost its sense of anything sacred – where it has become acceptable to humiliate and insult Muslims publicly and under the guise of freedom of speech.
It is in this situation that CAIR stands tall, with the noble goal of returning to America its soul; to remove from our country its hate and bigotry; and to reassert the values of its founding fathers. This award is not for me. It is for those around me, who have helped me along the way, supported me, cared for me, and have understood the sacrifices made in pursuit of the greater good.
I dedicate this award firstly to my colleagues at IIIT worldwide, without whom none of this could ever have been possible. I wish to thank each and every one of them, over the past 30 years, for allowing me to take credit for our collective and tireless efforts.
I wish to thank Dr. AbuBakr El-Shingeiti for coming in to IIIT and so ably assuming his many responsibilities, and for stepping up, allowing me to step down with full faith and assurance of his dedication and focus on our goals. Thank you Dr. Yaqub Mirza, for standing on the frontlines for so long, fighting for our legal and financial survival, without which we would surely have been forced to give up long ago.
I want to especially thank Dr. Hisham Altalib; my life-long friend, confidant and partner since high school, whom for over fifty years has been there by my side working with determination towards our common aspirations for the Muslim Ummah and the American Muslim community.
This award is dedicated with love and gratitude to my children, whom too often have paid the price for my absence and preoccupation with reforming knowledge of our great religion.
Finally, and most importantly, this award belongs to my wife, Suzanne. I dedicate it to her years of patience and perseverance through traveling, meetings, and constant demands on my time and energy; I dedicate it to her wisdom through adversity and prosperity; through sickness and health. She always stands firm with love, kindness and understanding, and is never hesitant to challenge me when I’m wrong.
As we move forward, our community’s greatest challenge is to build and work towards an America that is at peace with Islam and Muslims, which is necessary for world peace. An America that would no longer support corrupt and despotic leadership, serving narrow interests and compromising our values, but an America which truly stands for fairness and justice, espousing the sincere values of the Abrahamic tradition and the founding fathers.
So it is incumbent upon us, each of us, that while CAIR and Nihad are working to make America a better place for Muslims, we Muslims strive to make America a better place for all.