Newsletter: IAMC Annual Convention sets call to uphold human rights & democracy in India
As salamu alaykum,
In these challenging times for our Muslim brothers and sisters across the globe, the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) is pleased to bring you this special newsletter, featuring stories of solidarity, fraternity, and resilience from our Annual Convention held in Plano, Texas on October 14, 2023.
We hope that these stories will inspire you, demonstrating that we are not alone in our quest for justice, and urging you to persist in your support for Indian Muslims, Palestinians, and all oppressed communities worldwide.
- Over 1,000 people from IAMC chapters nationwide attended
- Featured speakers like Imam Omar Suleiman, SQR Ilyas, father of imprisoned Muslim activist Umair Khalid, Dr. Khaled Beydoun, Dr. Sahar Aziz, Rowaida Abdelaziz, and Azhar Azeez
- Hosted four-panel sessions and a parallel Youth Summit for young activists
- Organized a half-day coalition-building session with our coalition partners from around the nation
- Held the 2nd Annual Human Rights and Religious Freedom (HRRF) Journalism Awards ceremony
IMAM OMAR SULEIMAN’S KEYNOTE ADDRESS
Wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh and speaking to an audience of hundreds, Imam Omar Suleiman opened the convention with a message of strength, hope, and unity between two causes.
“The Indian Muslim cause is the Palestinian cause,” Imam Omar said. “There is absolutely no separation between the two.”
Adding that Hindutva (Hindu Supremacism) and Zionism follow the same playbook, Imam Omar said, “Once the world’s largest democracy, India now stands as a model of oppression. But what we possess in faith is stronger than what they possess in war machines… May Allah allow this to be a moment in which we form a movement here in Dallas to oppose fascism in India.”
PANEL SESSIONS FT. A-LIST SPEAKERS + YOUTH SUMMIT FOR YOUNG LEADERS
Our panel sessions allowed our attendees to learn about Hindutva in-depth from multiple different angles, including the following:
- “Interfaith Leaders in Action: Social Justice Beyond Dialogue”
- “Upholding Democracy in India: 2024 Election and its Impact”
- “Unveiling the Shadows: The Impact of Hindu Supremacy on Women”
- “Hindu Nationalism and Islamophobia: A Contemporary Analysis”
Our speakers ranged from interfaith leaders to academics to globally renowned activists, including:
- Khaled Beydoun, public intellectual and activist
- Syed Qasim Rasool Ilyas, father of imprisoned Indian Muslim activist Umar Khalid
- Azhar Azeez, former president of ISNA
- Dr. Sabreena Ghaffar-Siddiqui, professor and researcher
- Dr. Sahar Aziz, professor and author of The Racial Muslim
- Dr. Yasmin Saikia, Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies at Arizona State University
- Pastor Bob Roberts Jr, Co-Founder of Multi-Faith Neighbors Network
- Manmohan Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations
Running parallel to these sessions was a Youth Summit aimed at empowering the young rising stars of our community, teaching them the basics of advocacy, and inspiring them through stories of IAMC’s own young activists.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM JOURNALISM AWARDS
The highlight of our national convention was the 2023 Human Rights Religious Freedom Journalism Awards Ceremony, which honors the groundbreaking and in-depth reporting on pressing issues concerning Indian minorities and marginalized communities.
This program, sponsored by IAMC, is a way to support brave Indian journalists as they report on human rights abuses amid the Modi regime’s ongoing crackdown on press freedoms.
You can read about this year’s winners and their stories here.
CLOSING BANQUET AND FUNDRAISER
Our closing banquet was attended by over 700 people – both Indian and non-Indian – from all over the nation. Moderated by comedian Preacher Moss, this final event was meant to highlight the joy and pride of being an Indian Muslim, featuring speeches from Indian-American community leaders, a stage play, and poetry performances. Congressman Ro Khanna also spoke at the event, stating that he deeply appreciates the work of IAMC.
Alhamdulillah, with the generosity of our attendees, we were also able to raise funds to continue IAMC’s work to uphold peace, justice, and pluralism in India and the United States.
Our heartfelt commendation to the IAMC Dallas chapter for their tireless efforts in putting together this remarkable convention. Your dedication and hard work shine through in every aspect of this event.
OUR WORK CONTINUES
The global situation is indeed disheartening, but as Imam Omar Suleiman aptly stated in his opening address, “What we possess in faith is stronger than what they possess in war machines.”
IAMC remains steadfast in its commitment to be a beacon of hope in times of darkness. Thanks to the unwavering support of our convention attendees, we are confident that together, we stand as a symbol of hope and resilience, working tirelessly for a world where equality and dignity reign supreme. Stay updated with our ongoing efforts, and join us in our mission to uphold human rights in India.
Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC)
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