Hundreds including diplomats, doctors, and lawyers along with TV personalities and fashionitas gathered recently in Washington, DC for a Hollywood Oscars-styled awards show highlighting contributions of Muslims and non-Muslims alike to the US and mankind.
On Saturday, May 31st, 2014, a who's who among the growing Muslim American community attended the Golden Minaret Awards or the #MuslimOscars as it was known on Twitter and other social media.
The gala held in a swank hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. recognized dozens for their work in a variety of fields from CEO of the year to top charity.
The Golden Minaret Awards was first launched in 2013 coinciding with President Barak Obama?s second inauguration. Unique from the Academy of Motion Pictures Awards, the #MuslimOscars celebrates achievements of Muslims in a variety of areas outside the arts such as law, health care, and charity as well as artistic accomplishments in fashion and other fields. Like the Oscars, the Golden Minaret Awards was filmed and organizers hope to broadcast the show to millions in the US and internationally.
It's imperative that we get the message out about all the contributions Muslims make to the fabric of this nation, says Talib I. Karim, chairman of the Academy of Muslim Achievement, the group behind the Golden Minaret Awards. A Washington, DC lawyer with offices on K Street, Karim contends ?All too often, the media is filled with reports of tragedy about Muslims, from Nigeria to Afghanistan to Egypt. Yet nearly invisible, are stories of how Muslims in America and around the globe contribute to society.?
Women took top honors in many of the categories for this year?s awards including Best in Law (DOJ Civil Rights Attorney Raheemah Abdulaleem), Best in Fashion (Mali Rose Designs CEO Baqiyah Adam), and Best in Media (Zarinah Shakir). While the balloting was secret, the fact that so many women were honored did not surprise Karim. ?In the US, women are at the forefront of virtually every aspect of Muslim community life, thus it was fitting that so many women leaders were honored this year,? Karim noted.
The highlight of the Awards Gala was a special tribute to the late South African President Nelson Mandela through a humanitarian award bearing his name being bestowed upon South African Ambassador to the US Ebrahim Rasool. South Africa?s chief diplomat to the US electrified the audience by his acceptance speech drawing connections between the struggle for democracy in his country and the efforts of Muslims in America to showcase their positive contributions to society.
Said Durrah, a Jordanian American comedian-activist, and Malika Bilal, a host of the Stream, a TV program on Al Jazeera English?s channel hosted this year?s Golden Minaret Awards. The nation?s first Muslim in Congress, Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) served as the honorary hosts.
Guests were also treated to delicious food, a Marketplace Bazaar, and live performances from Naeem, a member of the internationally renowned recording group Native Deen and the teen-duo Mahmood & Zakaria.
Sponsors of the Golden Minaret Awards were the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS Center), Amana Mutual Funds Trust, America's Islamic Heritage Museum, Avondale Center Islamic Center, Banneker Ventures, Blueboy Printing, CAIR Maryland, DC Muslim Caucus, Dr. Maqsood A Chaudhry, Halal Midamar, Islamic Leadership Institute of America (ILIA), Islamic Relief USA, Islamic Society of the Washington Area (ISWA), Muslim American Citizens Coalition & Public Affairs Council (MACCPAC), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), OSI Management, Sabree, Inc., Sahara Date, SHARE Atlanta, Sweet Tooth Cakes and Pastries, the Jaji Family Fund, Universal Mortuary, TEC Relations, TEC Law, Areej Production, and Azizah Magazine.
[Source: Golden Minaret Awards organizers]