By Darla Shelden
The 6th Annual Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) banquet, themed Making Democracy Work, will be held on Saturday, March 31, from 5 until 8:30 p.m., at the Oklahoma City Marriott, 3233 NW Expressway. Registration begins at 5 p.m. and the dinner and program follow at 6 p.m.
The annual awards banquet honors the work of activists who have served the community with courage and leadership in the past year. Making Democracy Work will include a program featuring guests and awardees that will discuss the 2012 elections, Muslim involvement in the democratic process, and the impact of CAIR-Oklahoma’s work in the community.
Each year, CAIR Oklahoma’s Annual Awards banquet proudly hosts leading voices and scholars in the academic, civil rights, and Muslim communities.
Keynote speaker Ebrahim Moosa is considered to be among the foremost progressive Muslim thinkers. Professor Moosa is an expert on Islamic law, ethics, and theology. Moosa has extensive experience with human rights causes in the anti-apartheid struggle in his native South Africa.
An award winning author, Professor Moosa has also received awards from the Ford Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York for his studies in Philanthropy and Social Justice in Muslim societies.
Dean Obeidullan, an award-winning comedian who has appeared on Comedy Central’s “Axis of Evil” and co-created ComedyCentral.com’s internet series “The Watch List”, will provide entertainment. He has performed comedy throughout the United States and across the Middle East, and is a regular contributor on numerous news networks.
Motivational speaker Dr. Imad Enchassi is founder and Executive Director of the Mercy Education Foundation, as well as founder, Imam and President of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City Enchassi received degrees from American universities in pursuit of a successful career in the private sector before becoming an Imam. He studied at the Daawa University Institute and the University Institute of Vocation for Islamic Studies in Beirut Lebanon, receiving his Bachelors, Masters, and two Doctorate Degrees in Islamic Studies.
Dr. Enchassi is the first Muslim to provide invocations at both the Oklahoma State Capitol, and before the Mayor and City Council of Oklahoma City.
recipient of the 2012 Freedom of Expression Award is Samantha Elauf. Elauf was the plaintiff in a landmark case against Abercrombie & Fitch (Abercrombie) in 2009, in response to Abercrombie’s decision to deny Elauf a job based on her choice to wear a headscarf in accordance with her religious expression.
The lawsuit revealed that Abercrombie was guilty of discrimination against Elauf based solely on her choice to wear religious headwear and her identification as a Muslim woman.
CAIR-Oklahoma invites individuals and organizations to participate as a sponsor of the 6th Annual Awards Banquet. The largest gathering for the Muslim community in Oklahoma, it attracts elected officials, members of the media, and advocates from across the state, while celebrating CAIR-Oklahoma’s commitment to defeating intolerance.
Platinum Sponsorships are available with a donation of $5,000 for a table for eight. Gold Sponsorships are $2,500, Silver Sponsorships are $1,000 and tables for eight can be purchased for a donation of $500.
Volunteers will receive a free event ticket and other tokens of appreciation by helping to execute the biggest gathering for the Muslim community in Oklahoma. The volunteer rehearsal is scheduled for Sunday, March 25, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. A form is available online to register.
“This event honors the work of activists who have served our community with courage and leadership in the past year.” said CAIR Executive Director. Muneer Awad. “This is a great opportunity to give back to the communities you serve, and to show that you care about the positive work conducted by CAIR Oklahoma.”
CAIR is America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, with regional offices nationwide and in Canada. CAIR-Oklahoma, a nonprofit grassroots 501(c)(3) civil rights and advocacy group, serves the entire state of Oklahoma through its Oklahoma City offices.
Banquet tickets are $40 per person, $25 for students and childcare is available for $15. All prices increase by $30 after March 24. Tickets and more information can be found online at www.cairoklahoma.com/banquet