Dar-us-Salaam Imam Safi Khan (far right) receives the “excellence in education” award on behalf of Al-Huda School. The accredited pre-K through 12th grade school is widely recognized as one of the best full-time Islamic schools in the nation. Imam Safi recounted some of the achievements of the school, saying “with a little effort we can achieve a lot if we just start with ‘bismillah’.” At the podium is IRHSCA’s Imam Abdul-Rahman Yaki. All photos by the Muslim Link
Respect, tolerance, and collaboration was the theme of the evening for the 12th annual fundraising dinner for the Islamic Research & Humanitarian Service Center of America located in Capital Heights, Maryland.
The July 14, 2012 fundraising dinner reflected the theme well, since IRHSCA (pronounced “ehr-ha-sa”) incorporated an honor awards ceremony to recognize the achievements of several Islamic organizations, Muslim community members, and local leaders for their community work.
About 200 community members attended the event, held at Suitland High School.
Brother Talib Abdus-Samad, a member of IRHSCA’s board, served as the master of ceremonies, saying that IRHSCA is “all about respect and collaborating with other organizations.” IRHSCA Imam Abdul-Rahman Yaki conducted the fundraising, saying the first priority was to raise money to purchase the building IRHSCA occupies. At their last fundraiser held in 2010, IRHSCA raised about $36,000. Talib Abdus-Samad said IRHSCA needs $6,000 per month to operate.
Dinner was provided by Sweet Tooth Cakes & Pastries, a popular business owned by brother Steve Thomas, a reluctant recipient of a community service award from IRHSCA. Thomas’ family also received recognition for their support of Thomas’ community activism. Talib Abdus-Samad received a surprise award from members of IRHSCA, despite his insistence that he not be recognized.
Capitol Heights Mayor Kito Jones was also presented with an award for his inclusive leadership. Jones appreciated IRHSCA’s message of respect, tolerance, and collaboration, and said “it applies to our town” and that Capitol Heights residents must “move forward in unity”.
Other award recipients included the Milati-Islami substace abuse rehabilitation program led by Washington DC Muslim Bilal Praither, Mulimat An-Nisaa, the shelter for homeless Muslim women led by Baltimore's Asmaa Hanif, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) led by Nihad Awad, and the Muslim Inter-Scholastic Tournament (MIST), led in the DC region by Adam Kareem.
Entertainment was offered in the form of spoken word poetry by Muslim Inter-Scholastic Tournament winners Naeem Baig and Azizah Abdul-Samad, as well as a nasheed from the students of the IRHSCA weekend school.
Capitol Heights mayor Kito James (center), at 36 years old one of the region’s youngest mayors, thanked IRHSCA for what they do in the community, especially their youth work. IRHSCA said the Muslim community in Capitol Heights is taking part in “economic engagement” ideas with the mayor. At right is IRHSCA’s Talib Abdus-Samad.
Imam of the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, Muhammad Abdullahi, was the keynote speaker of the evening. “In order for you to have respect, you must have knowledge, and hence the importance of education,” said Imam Abdullahi.
The weekend school is one of the major projects of IRHSCA. Here, some of its best and brightest sing a nasheed for the audience.