Around 300 area Muslims and dozens of local, state, and federal elected officials attended the 10th anniversary dinner for the Howard County Muslim Council held on November 11, 2012 in Clarksville, Maryland. Formed in 2002, the Howard County Muslim Council's mission is: “[HCMC] is dedicated to promoting the interests and involvement of Muslims in Howard County. HCMC is committed to supporting, sponsoring and participating in activities of common interest to local Muslims and the broader community of Howard County.” Over the next several years after HCMC formed, counties throughout Maryland formed councils using HCMC as the model. Photo by Khalid Bekka.
HCMC President Rizwan Siddiqi (center) offers awards to Howard County Council Chairperson Mary Kay Sigaty and Councilman Calvin Ball. “You are now seen as the fiber of our community [in Howard County], you are no longer seen as just Muslims. You are seen as our neighbors and friends,” Sigtay told the audience. Calvin Ball
added more congratulatory remarks and read a Howard County honorary resolution recognizing the achievements of the Howard County Muslim Council. The other board members of the HCMC include Vice-President Samina Chowdhury, Secretary Hasan Askari, and Treasurer Aref Baig. Photo by Muslim Link Staff
“Over the last ten years what you have done, to reach out and support the community in so many ways deserves a big, big thank you and congratulations to everyone here. The fact that you've had food drives, clothing drives, health fairs .. you've opened the
doors up at Dar Al-Taqwa to break down barriers and educate the broader community is really a tribute to everyone here. You inspire me and you've helped me live up to those values over the last six years as your county executive.” – Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. Photo by Muslim Link Staff
Former Howard County Executive James Robey, now serving in the Maryland Senate, recalled how he first met a group of “distinguished looking men” who wanted to meet him when he was county executive for the sole purpose of explaining “who they were and what they wanted to do for the county”. “I knew nothing about [the Muslim community],” said Robey, saying he was a product of a mostly white, Christian area. Robey recalled how touched he was by the HCMC's willingness to work for the betterment of the county. “You've become my friends.” Photo by Muslim Link Staff
Past presidents of the HCMC were asked to come to the stage to receive recognition and awards. They made brief remarks. Pictured from right to left are Hasan Askari, founder Anwar Hassan, Irfan Malik, Dr. Rashid Chotani, Dr. Raghid Shorbaji, and current president Rizwan Siddiqi. “I'm pleased to see the process of the Howard County Muslim Council working exceptionally well,” said Anwar Hassan, citing how counties across Maryland have modeled their own councils on the HCMC. Photo by Muslim Link Staff