About 250 guests of the member organizations, leaders and imams of masajid, elected and government officials, dignitaries, civic and interfaith partners attended the banquet. Amongst them were Congressman Andre Carson, Congressman Keith Ellison, and Judge Hassan El Amin who also spoke on stage.
Zahra Billoo, the Executive Director CAlR-San Francisco and Dr. Altaf Hussain, Professor at Howard University emceed the event.
Oussama Jammal, the secretary general of the council introduced the mission of the council to the audience: bringing American Muslim organizations together.
Other speakers included Dr. Osama Abu-Irshaid, Nihad Awad, Naeem Baig, Mazen Mokhtar, Khalil Meek, Imam Delawar Hussein, Dr Lynne Muhammad and W.D. Mohammed II.
The Mosque Cares and the Nation’s Mosque were well represented at the banquet.
The keynote address was given by Dr Ihsan Bagby, of the University of Kentucky, who took the audience on a short sojourn through the history of American Muslims starting from the early Africans who were forcibly brought by slave traders to early immigrants to the present. He traced the history of other umbrella organizations that had formed and pointed out the reasons of their demise, urging the council to learn from their mistakes.
Imam Omar Suleiman represented the younger generation of leaders and spoke about what diversity and race relations means to his generation. He expressed great hope for the growth of the council.
The latest organizations to join the council are the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, United Muslim Relief, VA and the Islamic Center of Wheaton, IL.
Membership application forms for non-profot organizations are now available on the USCMO website. The dues for voting member annual dues are $3,500 and associate member annual dues are $1,000.
Top, a guest at the inaugural USCMO banquet takes a "selfie" photo with Congressman Andre Carson. Bottom, the founding leaders of USCMO react to Congressman Keith Ellison's address. Photos by Imam Nasif Muhammad.
The event was sponsored by Helping Hands USA, and ICNA Relief. Founding members of USCMO include: The Mosque Cares (Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed); Muslim American Society (MAS); American Muslims for Palestine (AMP); Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Islamic Circle of North American (ICNA); Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA); Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA); Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA); American Muslim Alliance (AMA); and the Mosque Foundation (Chicago).
The new national council was first announced on March 12, 2014 at a press conference held at the National Press Club in Washington DC. A statement issued that day said USCMO’s “first priority will be to build on Muslim citizenship rights by conducting a census of American Muslims to create a database that will be used to enhance civic and political participation in upcoming elections.”