4th of July Reflections: I am an American Muslim and I am Proud to be an American

Somayyah Ghariani

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July. My Family and I were in a 4th of July Parade in Purcellville, VA. My Boys were a part of the Boy Scouts of America Honor Guard with the US Flag and we were a part of the Purcellville Rotary Club Float.

I remind all of us to take a moment on The 4th of July to remember Independence Day and what it means – Freedom, Democracy, Hope. On this special day we thank our Lord, Who created all people equal and for granting us with exceptional liberty in our beloved country, the United States of America. Please say a Prayer and Thank God for the Blessings we have in this Great Land of America. Let us recommit ourselves to service to our Country. Let us recommit to more Community Service, Interfaith Collaboration, and Civic Engagement.

Let us all remember this day as a reflection on our Precious Heritage of Freedom and Liberty Declaration of Independence http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

Please reflect on American Muslim Contribution to America since before its founding, during its founding, and today. Reference: American Islamic Heritage Museum:

In 1492, Columbus had two captains of Muslim origin during his first voyage, one named Martin Alonso Pinzon the captain of the Pinta, and his brother Vicente Yanex Pinzon the captain of the Nina. They were wealthy expert ship outfitters who helped organize Columbus’ expedition and repaired the flagship Santa Maria. The Pinzon family was related to Abuzayan Muhammad III, the Moroccan Sultan of the Marinid Dynasty (1196-1465).

Approximately, 30% of Enslaved Africans brought to America during the Slave trade were of Muslim background. We all know about the famous story of Kunta Kinte in Alex’s Haley book Roots. In 1767, Kunta Kinte was captured and enslaved. Kunta Kinte was a Muslim born in 1750, in the village of Juffure in Gambia. He was shipped to Annapolis, Maryland on the ship Lord Ligonier and sold to a Virginia planter. Kunta Kinte fought hard to hold on to his Islamic heritage. Having learned the Qur’an as a boy Kunta scratched Arabic phrases in the dirt and tried to pray every day after he arrived in America.

Research has revealed that Muslim Veterans and people with a Islamic last name have participated in the different wars America has engaged in over the years. The United States Armed Services records confirm this fact, particularly during the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. On June 17, 1775, Peter Salem (Saleem) born (1750?-1816) a former slave who fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Peter Salem got awarded for fighting in the Revolutionary War, and he also fought at Lexington. Peter Salem and Salem (Saleem) Poor were honored for their bravery. History reports that a Jewish man told the people that the word was like “shalom” which means peace. The name for peace in Arabic is Salaam and Saleem in Arabic means one who is peaceful. Postage stamps have been made of Peter Salem and Salem Poor as American Revolutionary war heroes. From 1774-1783 there were at least six people with Islamic names who fought in the Revolutionary War as colonial soldiers. One of them was Yusuf Ben Ali, also known as Joseph (Benenhali) Benhaley, who fought with General Sumter in South Carolina. After the war, General Sumter took Joseph Benhaley with him inland to Stateburg where they settled down. Joseph Benhaley’s name appeared in the 1790 census of Sumter County. Revolutionary records also show that there was a Bampett Muhamed who was a Corporal in the Revolutionary Army, from 1775-1783 in Virginia. Francis Saba was listed as a sergeant with the Continental Troops in roll 132, 1775-1783, and Joseph Saba was listed as a Fifer in the Continental Troops roll 132, 1775-1783.

1864-1865 Max Hassan was another Muslim from Africa who fought in the Civil War. His war record shows he came from Africa and worked as a porter in the service.

In 1860, Muhammad Ali ibn Said (1833 – 1882), known as (Nicholas Said) arrived in America as a free man. In 1861 he arrived in Detroit. Shortly afterward he found a teaching job and in 1863 Muhammad enlisted in the 55th Massachusetts colored regiment and became a Civil War hero. He served faithfully and bravely with his regiment as Corporal and then Sergeant in the South. Near the close of the war he was assigned, at his own request, to the hospital department, to learn some knowledge of medicine

From the Foundations of America to over 7 Million American Muslims today, we all know many famous American Muslims like Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Hakim Olojuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine Jackson, Mos Def, Ahmad Rashad, Janet Jackson, Dr. Oz, Ice Cube, Ellen Burstyn, Aasif Mandvi, Dean Obeidallah, David Chappelle, Congressman Keith Ellison, and Congressman Andre Carson.

The roots of Muslims in America are represented in more than 500 names of places, villages, streets, towns, cities, lakes, rivers, etc . . . in the United States in which there name are derived from African, Islamic, and Arabic words. Places like Mecca, Indiana; Morocco, Indiana; Medina, NY; Medina, OH; Medina, TX; Toledo, OH; Mahomet, IL; Mahomet, Texas; Yarrowsburg, MD; Islamorada, FL, and Tallahassee, FL are found throughout America.

I am an American Muslim and I am proud to be an American.

PEACE, Rizwan

Board Member & Interfaith/Government/Media Committee Co-Chair, All Dulles Area Muslim Society(ADAMS)
Board Member, Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington(IFC)
ADAMS Cub Scout/Boy Scout/Venture Institutional Head, Pack/Troop/Crew 1576 and Troop 786
Member At Large, Goose Creek District Committee, NCAC Boy Scouts of America

Virginia honors ADAMS’s FAITH Social Services

Somayyah Ghariani

Lt. Governor, delegates present joint house resolution

By: Lamyaa Mowery, MAV Contributing Editor

STERLING, Virginia — Lt. Governor Ralph Northam visited the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Friday, June 2, along with other elected leaders to present a House Joint Resolution that honors the ADAMS Center’s FAITH Social Services program. House Joint Resolution 969 was approved by the General Assembly this year after being introduced by Delegate Jennifer B. Boysko (D-86).


As Alliance for an Indivisible America 2020 Executive Director Robert Marro gave an opening introduction, ADAMS congregation members and the ADAMS Board gathered along with their community members and neighbors to watch FAITH Executive Director Ambreen Ahmad and FAITH President Tanveer Mirza receive the award on behalf of ADAMS.

“We watched an election in 2016 that was based on hatred, bigotry and discrimination.  That’s not what Virginia is all about. I came today to thank you for what you offer to our community and what you offer to this country,” Northam said to the congregation as they gathered for the award ceremony.

ADAMS Nokesville Mosque Application Unanimously Approved

Somayyah Ghariani

By: Lamyaa Mowery, MAV Contributing Editor

Nokesville — Prince William Board of County Supervisors voted to approve the construction of a new ADAMS’ mosque branch following a hearing held Tuesday evening June 27.  The Mosque branch will be located in the Nokesville area of Prince William County.

The hearing held at the James McCoart Building in Woodbridge was attended by about 500 members of the ADAMS Greater and Western PWC congregation.

A smaller number of Gainesville and Nokesville residents, many members of the group Friends of the Rural Crescent Energized (FORCE) also attended the public hearing that night, most to oppose the new mosque. Opponent concerns focused on increased traffic and that allowing the mosque branch to connect to the public sewer would allow large corporations and institutions into the Rural Crescent as well.

Dozens of mosque supporters spoke to mitigate those concerns explaining that mosque traffic would only be for Friday mid-day prayers.  Mosque visits in morning or evening rush hours are almost non-existent.   The prayer services will be at noon time on Fridays only, well after morning rush hours, and will end before afternoon school release times.  Traffic concerns are therefore irrelevant to the Application.

Proponents also addressed the sewer connection issue.   They pointed out that the PWC Board had previously approved churches in the Rural Crescent to connect to public sewer.  No application for a religious institution had ever been denied a request for sewer connection, and many of those churches had significantly larger buildings and worshipper capacity. ADAMS supporters presented a map of many plots in the Rural Crescent that had already been connected to public sewer over the past years, without destroying the character of the Crescent.  One speaker noted how a PWC Planning Commissioner, a water treatment specialist by profession, had himself noted in the Planning Commission hearing that public sewer was the only environmentally reasonable and safe option for this property.

Two opposition members also noted the “true threat” of allowing groups with ties to terrorism and terrorist groups to have a facility in PWC.  These allegations were roundly criticized even by members of the opposition to the mosque, though they were sadly emblematic of the many letters sent to ADAMS by individuals expressing similar views.

More than 175 persons signed up to speak, so the public hearing extended well through the night and into early morning. After the nearly 8 hours of public hearing and discussion, the PWC Board voted on two separate motions:  the first to allow the mosque to be built there (which passed unanimously 8-0), and then to allow ADAMS to connect to public sewer (passed 5-3).   Despite the late hour (3:30 AM), hundreds of supporters and many dozens of opponents remained in the Auditorium to witness the final result.

Supervisors Jeanine Lawson (R-Brentsville), Pete Candland (R-Gainesville) and Ruth Anderson (R-Occoquan) voting in favor of the mosque but against the connection to public sewer line. Board Chairman Corey Stewart (R) and Supervisors Maureen Caddigan (R-Potomac), Marty Nohe (R-Coles), Frank Principi (D-Woodbridge) and John Jenkins (D-Neabsco) voted in favor of the mosque and in favor of the sewer connection.

The application for this new ADAMS branch began about three years ago to accommodate the Muslim population in western PWC.  Dar al-Noor (Hoadly Rd, Woodbridge) is currently the only mosque that can manage larger crowds in PWC.

This is not the first opposition to an ADAMS mosque in NoVA: the application to expand its Ashburn branch last year also faced considerable resistance, but was similarly resolved when the Loudoun Board of Supervisors voted to grant ADAMS the permit earlier this year.

The ADAMS leadership and the entire ADAMS – Greater Gainesville community applaud all the PWC Supervisors for their support of the ADAMS mosque and their obvious strong commitment to religious freedom.


Remembering Nabra Hassanen

Somayyah Ghariani
Graphic By: Mohammad Alsalti


The ADAMS Center and AIA 2020 (Alliance for an Indivisible America 2020) lost a member of our community this week.  The tragic and brutal death of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen  are saddening and devastating.  But Nabra’s life tells a much different story. A Muslim whose love knew no bounds, Nabra was not defined by ethnicity, age, religion or politics.  She was perceptive, loving, caring, and a friend  to all, and embodied the best values of ADAMS and AIA 2020.  We can honor Nabra’s memory by advocating for and reinforcing her personal ideals in communities across America.    Please join us by signing and posting a comment in this ADAMS/AIA Condolence Book for Nabra below. You can also comment on our facebook post as well by clicking here.   

Condolence Book

“What an incredibly tragic, horrifying loss.  I and the Hill Havurah send our love for the ADAMS Center and the broader Muslim community.  We will be praying for comfort for you, and for courage and discernment for us as we support our Muslim cousins.” 


Rabbi Hannah

Spiro Hill

Havurah Reconstructionist Rabbinical College ’17


“Dear Robert and Rizwan,

Please accept our heartfelt condolences on the death of Nabra Hassanen.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and with all of those who worship at the ADAMS Center.”


Donna Murphy and Jeannette Smith

Better Angels


“We join each of you in prayerful compassion and grieve with the ADAMS community in this unimaginable loss.  We will continue to hold the family in our hearts and ongoing prayers as we trust that peace with justice will hold sway.”

Cathy and Dave Norman

“My prayers, condolences, and love pouring out for the entire ADAMS community and the family of Nabra Hassanen who was murdered early Sunday after leaving the mosque. I am deeply disturbed and saddened by this violent act. Know that the community of St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church is praying with you.”

Rev. Daniel Vélez-Rivera

“On behalf of Leesburg Presbyterian Church, I join the others in our inter-faith community to express our deepest sympathy to the heart-broken family of the ADAMS community upon the death of one of their precious youth.  Such needless violence and death is so profoundly disheartening.  Our prayers for peace and healing.”

Debbie Parsons

The Rev. Deborah Dodson Parsons, Pastor

Leesburg Presbyterian Church

“Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.”

Grace and peace,


David Douthett

Pastor, Catoctin Presbyterian Church

Waterford, VA

Loudoun Now: Perriello, Northam Stump in Loudoun

Somayyah Ghariani

Both candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor visited Loudoun this week.

Attorney, former U.S. Representative and Obama Administration diplomat Tom Perriello spoke to the Loudoun County Democratic Party’s monthly meeting Thursday night in Leesburg. He said Donald Trump’s presidency “reminds us of the fact that it’s state that are going to need to step up and show the leadership on the issues of justice and fairness going forward.”

He also remarked on a recent Washington Post poll that showed him with a narrow lead over his opponent in the primary race, pediatric neurologist and Lt. Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam.

Perriello and Northam have polled closely together.

Democratic gubernatorial primary candidate Tom Perriello meets with members of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee after a meeting Thursday, June 1. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

“What was more important in that Washington Post poll was who was getting excited about the race,” he said, indicating groups that are usually show lower turnout in elections. “We don’t need to worry about converting voters this year—we need to worry about giving voters a reason to show up.”

Northam visited the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center in Sterling along with other elected leaders Friday morning to present House Joint Resolution 969, which the General Assembly adopted this year. That resolution, introduced by Del. Jennifer B. Boysko (D-86), honors the ADAMS Center’s FAITH Social Services program.

“We watched an election in 2016 that was based on hatred and bigotry and discrimination, and that’s not what Virginia is all about,” Northam said, speaking after Friday prayers and during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. “And I came today to thank you for what you offer to our community, and what you offer to this country.”

Perriello and Northam will face off in the Democratic primary election on June 13; whoever wins will be Democratic nominee for governor in November.


American Muslim Groups Honor Country’s Fallen Heroes

Somayyah Ghariani

By Javaria Abbasi, AIA Program Analyst

Arlington National Cemetery, VA — Members from the Muslim American Veterans Association (MAVA), the Boy Scouts of America, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), Masjid Muhammad – the Nations Mosque, the Dar al Noor Islamic Community Center and the Alliance for an Indivisible America (AIA 2020) gathered Saturday at Arlington National Cemetery to memorialize those who gave their lives in service of their country.

“We are deeply grateful to our veterans,” said Executive Director of AIA 2020, Robert Marro, who is also a veteran.  “AIA 2020 coordinated this event to remember, to contemplate the magnitude of the sacrifices made by everyone – non-Muslim and Muslim alike.   We wanted to show that American Muslims stand in solidarity with families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.”

The Muslim veterans, representing all branches of the service, included a former paratrooper who served with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam in 1967 and with the 82nd Airborne in Fort Bragg in 1968, and a Bronze Star awardee who served with the US Army in Iraq.  All the American Muslim veterans noted their great pride in having been part of a long tradition of service to America.

The group placed flowers on headstones, paid their respects to others visiting the National Cemetery and offered prayers led by Stanley Mahdi, Commander, MAVA Post#1 Washington, at grave sites of the fallen, including the grave of Staff Sergeant Ayman A. Taha, a member of the ADAMS congregation who was killed in Iraq in 2006 while preparing a munitions cache.

“We felt a strong and special spirit here in Arlington.  Our hope and prayer is that that spirit grows stronger everyday and is felt everywhere across our great country,” said Lyndon Bilal, National Commander of MAVA.

For more information please contact Robert J. Marro at (703) 309-6726 or rjm@aia2020.org

Watch the video

Dr. Fatima Sheikh named AGS Clinician of the Year

Somayyah Ghariani


The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) has named Fatima Sheikh, MD, CMD, MPH, Medical Director at FutureCare in Maryland and Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the 2017 AGS Clinician of the Year. In her work across post-acute and long-term care, Dr. Sheikh is recognized not only as a skilled physician serving the needs of particularly frail older adults in the Baltimore area but also as a dedicated mentor for a diverse and growing interprofessional team. Daughter of ADAMS community member Tanzila Sheikh, Dr. Fatima Sheikh was honored at the AGS 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting (May 18-20 in San Antonio, Texas).

“Geriatrics expertise is complex and multifaceted, and that’s especially true when working with frail older adults like those cared for by Dr. Sheikh,” notes AGS President Ellen Flaherty, PhD, APRN, AGSF. “Dr. Sheikh and the healthcare professionals fortunate enough to learn from her are setting a new standard for what it means to provide high-quality, person-centered care.”

With a professional interest in improving long-term care for residents of skilled nursing facilities, Dr. Sheikh has championed several programs at FutureCare for managing multiple chronic conditions and transitions to and from the hospital–both critical components of long-term care for older adults. In 2012, for example, Dr. Sheikh played a key role to establish the Johns Hopkins Community Partnership Skilled Nursing Facility Collaborative, one of five Johns Hopkins University community health projects funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center.

And as these programs enhance the broader setting for geriatrics expertise, Dr. Sheikh has remained equally committed to high-quality care as a clinician and a mentor. Dr. Sheikh is recognized for her skill in conducting Advance Care Planning–an innovative service for documenting care preferences and one only recently recognized for Medicare beneficiaries. She continues to work with colleagues and fellows from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine on the nuances of geriatrics care, particularly when it comes to navigating cultural competency for diverse older adults and their families.

“The most exciting experience for me in taking care of older adults is listening to their life stories,” notes Dr. Sheikh. “And the most rewarding experience is when I can help make their end-of-life as comfortable and peaceful as possible.”

Dr. Sheikh has been a member of the AGS since 2011, when she first began her fellowship in geriatrics. She is board-certified in internal and geriatric medicine, and continues to balance her clinical career in geriatrics with research on health system innovation and improvements to care quality.

The AGS Clinician of the Year Award recognizes exceptional health professionals who deliver outstanding care to older adults and who model the importance of geriatrics for our country’s growing older adult population. It is one of several honors conferred by the AGS at its Annual Scientific Meeting–held this year in San Antonio, Texas., May 18-20. The 2017 award recipients include more than 15 healthcare leaders representing the depth and breadth of disciplines championing care for older adults. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.


About the American Geriatrics Society

Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has–for 75 years–worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.

About the AGS Clinician of the Year Award

The AGS Clinician of the Year Award was established to recognize the contributions of practitioners to quality health care for older people and the importance of the geriatrics clinician in our healthcare delivery system. Through awardees’ efforts, scientific advances are integrated into the practice of geriatrics, resulting in improved well-being and quality of life for older adults.

ADAMS Thoughts & Prayers for Oregon Heroes that were Murdered and Injured for Defending Muslim Women from Anti-Muslim Harassment

Somayyah Ghariani

The thoughts and prayers of the entire ADAMS Community are with the two men that were murdered (Ricky John Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche) and one injured (Micah David-Cole Fletcher) in Portland, Oregon while trying to defend two Muslim women from Anti-Muslim harassment by an apparent white supremacist( Jeremy Joseph Christian)
We earnestly thank and honor these heroes for their courage in trying to help these innocent women, and are broken-hearted by the price they paid for trying to be good citizens, good Americans, and good human beings.  We commend the local police for apprehending the perpetrator (Jeremy Joseph Christian) of this horrific hate crime and blatant terrorist act.

This incomprehensible horrific criminal act has devastated the lives of all the victims, and will affect every person of faith and conscience.  We condemn such actions and offer our deepest sympathy to all those affected.

We must all work to respond to bad with good and encourage peace and harmony.  We therefore encourage all our community members to please help the families of the three Portland Heroes in our holy month of Ramadan by donating to https://www.launchgood.com/ project/muslims_united_for_ portland_heroes#/

The All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), one of the largest Muslim communities/mosques in the DC Metro Area and in the United States, is a non-profit 501c (3) Organization that serves over 6000 families(25,000 people) with 11 branches in Virginia/DC – Ashburn, Crystal City, Fairfax, Greater Gainesville, North Reston, South Riding, Sterling/Herndon, Sully/Chantilly, Tysons Corner,  and Washington DC.  ADAMS is governed by a 13-member democratically elected Board of Trustees that includes both men and women.  ADAMS Provides Religious services & education and social activities to several thousand people a week. ADAMS engages in regular interfaith, government relations, social services and community service, and has one of the largest Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Girl Scout programs in the DC Metro area. ADAMS Coordinates 24 FridayPrayers at 11 Locations. ADAMS Eid Prayers are attended by 15,000 to 25,000 People at 6 ADAMS Eid Holiday Locations. ADAMS hosts the Adams Compassionate Healthcare Network(ACHN) Office and Clinic in partnership with Doctors, and Volunteers.

Founding Member, MAV, Hosts Police Chief

Somayyah Ghariani

Lamyaa Mowery- Contributing Editor from the Muslim Association of Virginia

Founding Member Dar AlNoor hosts Police Chief

The Prince William County Chief of Police, Barry Barnard, visited Dar al-Noor Islamic Community Center on February 4th during Friday prayers. The visit came just days after President Trump issued the initial travel ban on 7 Muslim-majority countries. Chief Barnard reassured the community that the Prince William County Police Department is committed to providing justice and protection to all residents of Prince William County.

“It’s important to me on many levels, professional level and personal level, that I have the opportunity to convey to you that you are important to us here at the Police Department, and you’re important to me. We want to work with you and for you.” Chief Barnard told the community members.

Founding Member Dar AlNoor hosts Police Chief

The chief is no stranger to the local Woodbridge mosque. The Prince William County Police Department is regularly invited to events held at Dar al-Noor. Members of the mosque welcomed and greeted the Chief with open arms and take pride in their relationship with the Prince William County Law Enforcement. After speaking to the congregation, Chief Barnard shared lunch with some of the community’s leadership and a group of local residents who had come to the Mosque that day to stand at the roadside with signs supporting the Muslim Community. Chief Barnard continues to demonstrate that he is a community leader with character and integrity and the members of Dar al-Noor look forward to seeing Chief Barnard on his next visit.

Founding Member, MAV, Hosts Clerk of the Court Debate

Somayyah Ghariani

Lamyaa Mowery- Contributing Editor from The Muslim Association of Virginia

Candidates for the PWC Clerk of the Court faced off in a debate on April 4th as they both attempted to win over voters and encourage supporters to show up at the polls on April 18th. Muslim Association of Virginia partnered with the Committee of 100 and League of Women Voters to host the debate at the Dar al-Noor Islamic Community Center with Inside Nova’s Bruce Potter moderating. Delegate Jackson Miller, a Republican who currently represents the 50th District highlighted his years of experience as a community leader and elected official to convince the public that he would be the best choice to manage the office of the Clerk of the Court. Local attorney Jackie Smith, a Democrat who has run for the Clerk of the Court position in the past, emphasized her record of supporting the community through pro-bono legal services as evidence that she will always do what is best for the community.

The debate brought together over 200 residents of Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park to meet the candidates and learn about their vision for the office of the Clerk of the Court. This debate comes just weeks before the expected low-turnout special election on Tuesday, April 18th.

Founding Member Dar AlNoor hosts Clerk of the Court Debate

This was not the first time the Dar al-Noor Islamic Community Center has opened their doors to their friends and neighbors to hold this type of event. Numerous political debates, school board debates, and community forums have drawn out thousands of local residents to the Mosque. In addition to their desire for civic engagement, the Muslim community at Dar al-Noor has been eager to invite their neighbors and friends of all faiths to the Mosque to join in building bonds of friendship throughout the community.