Imam Delivers Message to Trump at Inaugural Service

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Washington (CNN)

An imam who had been expected to deliver the Islamic call to prayer at an interfaith religious service for President Donald Trump instead recited two verses from the Quran that contained clear political messages for the new president and his administration.

Imam Mohamed Magid, executive director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, is a well-known figure in Washington, but he had been sharply criticized by fellow Muslims for agreeing to take part in the event Saturday at Washington National Cathedral.

Magid was one of 26 religious leaders from a diverse array of faiths to participate in the service, an inaugural tradition since George Washington. The event’s program said Magid would recite the “Muslim call to prayer,” leading many to believe he would intone the adhan, the melodic call to worship that issues forth from many mosques five times a day.

Instead, the imam chose two passages from the Quran with clear political implications, especially at a time of racial and religious strife, when many American Muslims feel marginalized and mistrusted.

Addressing the capitol’s power brokers, including Trump’s family and Vice President Michael Pence, Magid read first in Arabic and then provided an English translation.

The first verse he read was from Surah Al-Hujarat, in which God says:
“O humankind, We have created you a single male and female (Adam and Eve) and made you into nations and tribes and communities, that you may know one another. Really, the most honored of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you, and God has all knowledge…”

The second verse he read was from Surah Ar-Rum:

“And among the signs of God is the creation of heaven and earth, and the variation in your languages and your colors. Verily, in that are signs for those who know.”

A spokesman for Magid said his recitation of the verses had been approved by officials at the Washington National Cathedral.

“After the election, when a lot of things were said about Muslims, and there were questions about Muslims’ loyalty, these verses were intended to convey the message that we must come together and respect diversity — that God made us this way,” said Rizwan Jaka, board chairman at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society.

Like Magid, Episcopalians had been criticized for hosting and praying with Trump, whose campaign included harsh language about Muslims, Mexicans and women.

The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of the cathedral, also chose a prayer that spoke to the country’s divisive political climate, asking God to “break down the walls that separate us” and “take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts.”

Praying with the President

For years, Magid has been a familiar face at interfaith and government events in Washington.

He has met with former President Barack Obama to discuss fatherhood and hosted members of Obama’s administration at the large complex of Islamic centers Magid leads in Northern Virginia. Last year, the FBI gave that complex, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, a community leadership award for strengthening ties between local Muslims and law enforcement.
From 2010-14, Magid led the Islamic Society of North America, whose conferences draw thousands of Muslims each year, and the genial Sudanese-American regularly makes the list of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims.

But some American Muslims criticized Magid for agreeing to take part in the National Prayer Service with Trump.

Many American Muslims have accused Trump of stoking suspicion about their religion by saying “Islam hates us,” proposing a registry to monitor Muslims and pledging, at one time, to bar Muslims from entering the United States. (That plan may be modified to “extreme vetting,” Trump’s team says.) The president’s new National Security Adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, has called Islam a “cancer.”

Before Saturday’s service, Hussam Ayloush, who heads the Council of American-Islamic Relations’ Los Angeles chapter, compared Trump to the proverbial emperor without any clothes and urged Magid not to “hand him a towel.”

“In the face of unreluctant and unrepentant defamation and animosity toward Islam and Muslims (and many other communities) by this Trump team, a symbolic participation that does not involve any opportunity to preach or make a statement does not qualify as engaging or correcting the wrongdoers, but rather enabling them and providing them with a token cover for their bigotry,” Ayloush said in a statement.

Ayloush also said that Magid’s role in the prayer service “undermines the courageous and principled activism of so many Muslims and allies” who have challenged Trump’s rhetoric and proposals.

In response, Magid said the role of religious leaders is “to share the truth and values of Islam to everyone, including those in power. “

“Do not assume that the efforts to engage those who have misconceptions of Islam are in any way contradictory to other efforts to influence public opinion,” the imam said. “Rather they go hand in hand.”

Muslim-Americans need to share their message both through public protests and private meetings with government officials, Magid said, implying that the Prophet Mohammed would agree.

“Many people came to do harm to Prophet Mohammed, and after engagement and getting to know him they changed their mind in a positive manner.”

ADAMS Hosts Interfaith Event: Finding Common Ground

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US Attorney General participates in Interfaith Event at All Dulles Area Muslim Society.

“When one is threatened, we are all threatened. That’s the pledge we made as citizens.” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch expressed her solidarity with all Americans as she delivered the keynote address at the Interfaith gathering at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) on Monday morning, on a stage that included Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists and Hindus. Continue reading “ADAMS Hosts Interfaith Event: Finding Common Ground”

AIA Founding Member ADAMS Honors First Responders

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Sterling Mosque Honors First Responders

Members of the All-Dulles Area Muslim Society came together with first responders from Loudoun and Fairfax for the ADAMS Center’s 15th annual Peace Gathering on Thursday.

The first Peace Gathering at the Sterling mosque was held in 1999 around Thanksgiving, but after Sept. 11, 2001, ADAMS moved the event closer to that date.

“My brothers and sisters, if I had to teach my children what 9/11 meant for all of us, if I had to talk about what 9/11 meant for us, it is not the sadness, the shock, the fear, the anger that we all felt that morning after the atrocity that some of you, and all of us, would probably remember as we sat glued before the TV,” said ADAMS President and CEO Syed Moktadir. He said in the aftermath of 9/11, Americans showed their better nature by pulling together.

“While the intent of the perpetrators were to divide us, we have truly proven as Americas, united together once again,” Moktadir said. “And the true values that our forefathers have set before us as one nation, under God, indivisible, was truly tested and sustained once again.”

ADAMS Board of Trustees Chairman Rizwan Jaka called for a moment of silence, not only for those lives lost on 9/11, but also for victims of hate crimes that came afterward. The daughter and son-in-law of ADAMS community member Sharif Chowdhury, Shakila Yasmin and Nurul Haque Mian, are believed to be the only husband and wife lost together in the 9/11 attacks.

Representatives from a variety of other faiths joined the occasion.

“That was a sad, terrible day for all of us, but it was a day that awaked in all of us what we saw as the hero,” said Mike Trivett of the Christian Fellowship Church. Andrea Barron of the Washington Area Jews for Jewish-Muslim Understanding said resisting Islamophobia “is so important, not only because it’s the moral and right thing to do.”

“Here in America, we need to partner with Muslims like the people from ADAMS,” Barron said. “That is part of the battle against violent extremism. For the people who criticize Muslims, whoever they are, they are making us less safe and less secure.”

Several elected officials also made appearances, including Supervisor Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling), Del. Jennifer Boysko (D-86), and Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-34). Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10) said she could not attend because of  legislative duties, but sent a letter thanking ADAMS leadership.

“The thing I’ve learned from ADAMS is that the Islam faith is a faith of peace, and sharing, and giving,” Murphy said.

“As-salamu alaykum,” Comstock wrote, using a traditional Arabic greeting among Muslims meaning “peace be upon you.”

The ADAMS Center honored the following people and organizations with plaques:

Kim Comrie, Assistant Principal, Rolling Ridge Elementary School
Eric Treene, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Michael Rolince, FBI (Retired)
Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office
Leesburg Police Department
Loudoun County Department of Fire, Rescue & Emergency Management
Ashburn Fire & Rescue Department
Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad
Sterling Volunteer Fire Company
U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia
Herndon Police Department
Fairfax County Police Department
Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office
FBI Headquarters
Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department
Prince William County Police Department
FBI Washington Field Office

rgreene@loudounnow.com
@RenssGreene

Editorial: Here’s the ‘radical change’ that Sam Rasoul thinks Democrats need

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Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:00 am

The Roanoke Times

Shortly before Thanksgiving, a junior member of the minority party in Richmond did something that is hard for someone of that lowly status to do.

He made statewide news.

Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, quit his post as treasurer of the House Democratic Caucus and issued a cryptic statement calling for “radical change”: “We have been discussing for years the need for change, and now the voters have clearly spoken. While change takes time, it is critical that we begin a massive overhaul. The caucus seems to have little intention of entertaining that. As a Democrat, I want to use my energy toward efforts that restore trust among the people. That can only be accomplished by pushing radical change.”

What, exactly, does that mean?

Probably not what either astonished Democrats or gleeful Republicans are thinking.

Across the country, Democrats are grappling over how to respond to their staggering defeat in the presidential election. Should they move to the left? Should they try to reframe their pitch to appeal more to white, working-class voters? Rasoul says those are the wrong questions. “This is not a left-right debate,” he says. Instead, he’s thinking in an entirely different dimension. To fully understand where he’s coming from, we need to rewind to Dec. 7, 2013, because that’s when Rasoul’s differences with fellow House Democrats really began.

In November that year, Onzlee Ware resigned his seat in the House of Delegates (he’s now a judge), setting in motion a special election. On Dec. 7, Rasoul edged out three challengers in a “firehouse primary” to win his party’s nomination. That night, operatives from the House Democratic Caucus were standing by to take over the winner’s campaign against the Republican nominee. Rasoul told them “thanks, but no thanks.”

“I said I will do my own campaign,” Rasoul said. “I do my own messaging. I do my own mail. I have a brand focused on positive values. And I’m not about to throw any of that down the drain.”

The way Rasoul tells it, House Democrats wanted him to run a negative campaign against Republican Octavia Johnson. He didn’t want any part of it. “I didn’t want them to do any negative poll questions,” he says. “It didn’t matter to me because I wasn’t ever going to use it. We fought back and forth. We secretly made our own TV ads and placed our own spots. They said no one had ever done that in the history of the caucus.”

There were two special elections happening that January — this one to fill Ware’s seat and another to fill a state Senate seat in Norfolk. Democrats assumed they’d win the Norfolk seat but were worried that the contrarian Rasoul who had spurned their advice might not make it in Roanoke. Instead, Democrats barely won in Norfolk, while Rasoul won by nearly a 3-to-1 margin. “That was a vindicating moment,” he says.

Rasoul’s theory on how to win a campaign had come out of a previous defeat — his unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2008. His was not a “targeted race” that year, meaning the party paid little attention to what was clearly a long-shot bid. So he was on his own. Rasoul decided that he would not say anything about his opponent that his opponent wouldn’t agree with. He’d focus on the issues, not anything else. That didn’t work out so well in a Republican-heavy congressional district, but Rasoul is still convinced it’s a better way to run — and eventually win.

It’s a point he’s been trying to make within his party ever since — just without much success. The current political paradigm is that a candidate must attack the other side. Rasoul says that might win one election, but it won’t build a party over the long term. “When you scare someone into voting, it’s a one-time thing,” he says. He says it’s better to build a political party that people trust to look out for their interests. He calls on his background as a business consultant: Car companies used to sell cars through high-pressure sales techniques. Now, the focus is shifting toward building brand loyalty so the customer keeps coming back.

“Both major political parties have a branding problem: Solid majorities don’t trust either one,” Rasoul wrote in a commentary in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper back in June. He presciently urged his party then not to build its presidential campaign simply around attacking Donald Trump: “As a Democrat, I am hoping my party will not double-down on negative politics.” He especially warned that such tactics would not excite young voters. “Those antiquated tactics do not build trust with voters, especially emerging voters. Millennials gauge trust differently from previous generations, favoring sincerity even more than competence in deciding how much trust to place in our leaders.”

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Article: “A Tale of Two Muslims: Frank Gaffney’s Apocalypse, or Not”

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Written By: Tom Julia

President-elect Donald Trump faces many challenges, not the least of which are those related to homeland security. How Trump deals with the domestic and international Muslim communities is also of considerable import, given his campaign rhetoric and a nation that has experienced violent actions by anti-western Muslims, as well as violence against Muslims.

This week’s news includes speculation that Frank Gaffney is advising the Trump transition team.  That news has quickly brought out the Gaffney haters. Continue reading “Article: “A Tale of Two Muslims: Frank Gaffney’s Apocalypse, or Not””

Article: “A Tale of Two Muslims: Rizwan Jaka and ADAMS Speak Out”

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Written By: Tom Julia

Last week the Tribune summarized our interview with Frank Gaffney and his views on Muslims, Sharia and Islamic leaders in the U.S. His is a controversial point of view, and one that has brought him and the Center for Security Policy much criticism. But Gaffney has his advocates too, and his concerns go to the heart of the question of who the U.S. government should trust and work with among U.S. Muslim leaders.

To hear another perspective, we interviewed leaders of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Islamic Center in Sterling, one of the largest and most influential mosques in the U.S.

ADAMS is led by a 13-member Board of Trustees chaired by Rizwan Jaka. Continue reading “Article: “A Tale of Two Muslims: Rizwan Jaka and ADAMS Speak Out””

Senator Tim Kaine Spends Last Day Before VP Pick Showing why Virginia Matters

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On July 21, 2016, Sen. Tim Kane visited the ADAMS Center at the invitation of both ADAMS and AIA 2020 to speak to a group of interfaith and civic leaders and representatives about religious freedom and tolerance, in light of the highly charged atmosphere created by the presidential campaign and the rhetoric of many across America who attacked Islam and Muslims, and propose “solutions” that would be a clear violation of our almost 250 year history of First Amendment attention of religion in America.

sen-kaine-event-leadership

The was especially appropriate, given the intense speculation surrounding the pending selection of the vice presidential Running Made for the Clinton campaign. Sen. Cain was actually selected to be Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential nominee less than two days after his visit ADAMS.

That speculation not only produced significant media interest in the event, but dominated many of the questions and discussions at the event. However, the Senator was not only extremely calm and personable in the face of the intense media interest, but never avoided any issues or questions from the audience about his long-standing commitments to religious freedom everywhere.

As reported in the referenced article in the Great Falls Connection, “At times Kaine was giving mini history lessons on the First Amendment and Freedom of Religion.  He also showed his philosophical, thoughtful side, relating a story about one question he often asked as a Jesuit missionary in Honduras.  “As human beings, we have an instinctive appreciation of diversity in nature. I would ask people ‘Do you have a favorite flower? ‘And most people do have a favorite flower. Then I would ask ‘Do you want every flower to be that flower?’ Of course not,” Kaine said, smiling.”

The event was not only a great success, but gave members of the community, our interfaith partners and our civic partners (like NAACP leaders from both Fairfax and Loudoun counties) the opportunity to share their hopes and aspirations for the future, as well as their concerns, with the Senator and to express their own support for the principles of freedom that have been enshrined first in the Virginia Declaration of Religious Freedom, and later in the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

At the end of the presentation, the Senator was literally surrounded not only by media representatives, but by audience members who wanted to ask specific questions, and perhaps more important, to wish him well if he should receive the nomination for the Vice Presidency.

AIA 2020 was quite proud to be involved in this effort, and to use this opportunity to promote our determination to not only provide a platform for a better understanding of Islam and Muslims, but a way that we and our interfaith and civic partners can work together with officials like Senator Kaine to ensure that there be no encroachments on religious freedom under any Administration in America.

For more information, please see the referenced media article in the Great Falls Connection.

Fairfax County Names 2016 Top Volunteer

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Fairfax, VA — The Fairfax County 2016 “Barbara Varon Volunteer Award” was presented to AIA 2020 Executive Director Robert Marro for his exemplary efforts to increase participation in the democratic process among new Americans living in Northern Virginia.

The Barbara Varon Volunteer Award was initiated more than 12 years ago to recognize the volunteer effort required to ensure every American has the access and the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.  

Marro was nominated by John Foust, Supervisor of the Dranesville District, and received his award during the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors October Meeting on Tuesday Oct 18.  Cited for his work as Government Outreach Chair for the All Dulles Area Muslim Society  (ADAMS) since 2002, Marro has been instrumental in giving the ADAMS community a major role in civic engagement in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia.

Marro, also a Founding member and Director of the Alliance for an Indivisible America 2020 (AIA2020), has developed numerous programs to help foreign-born community members understand both the Federal and Virginia civic election process.   Sharon Bulova, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, noted Marro has “worked tirelessly to make the ADAMS Center an institution that has become a “mandatory stop for officials and candidates in every election.”   Marro was especially commended for his consistent and enduring non-partisan approach to government outreach.  

Over the years,” Bulova said, “Mr. Marro has led ADAMS teams in arranging annual candidate forums and Annual Town Hall meetings for local Senators and Delegates to brief hundreds of ADAMS and community members on issues and activities of the Virginia Legislative session and other topical events.   The teams organize civic meetings for the FBI, Homeland Security, Department of Justice, State Department, TSA and USCIS and other US agency officials to brief the community on their activities and programs.  For ADAMS’ “Path to Naturalization” event earlier this year, Marro collaborated with eight other Virginia civic groups, to teach (and encourage) an audience of 300+ Virginians how to become US citizens in time to vote in November.  

Marro accepted the award on behalf of the “ADAMS Center and all our partner mosques, interfaith and civic organizations.  I truly feel all our efforts have made Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties a place where people of all races, religions and ethnicities can thrive and prosper, and participate fully in our globally coveted democratic process”.

For more information or to talk to Marro directly, please contact

info@aia2020.org or call (703) 421-8045