By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
On Saturday, March 28, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Oklahoma Chapter will host their 9th Annual Awards Banquet, themed “Rooted in Faith: Growing Through Service.” The event will be held at the Reed Conference Center in the Sheraton Hotel, 5800 Will Rogers Rd., in Midwest City.
Registration begins at 5 p.m. with the dinner and the program beginning at 6 p.m.
CAIR-OK will honor individuals and organizations who have worked to protect and defend the rights of Oklahoma Muslims.
Through this event, CAIR-OK promotes awareness on major civil rights issues in our community and acknowledges excellence in community service and social justice in the state.
This year’s keynote speaker is American Muslim Imam Suhaib Webb, a thought leader and educator.
“We are honored to welcome Imam Suhaib Webb back to his home state for our 9th Annual Awards Banquet,” said Adam Soltani, Executive Director of CAIR-OK.
“Imam Webb has been one of the most influential voices for the American Muslim community in the last decade. His words are sure to inspire our community as we continue to take on challenges related to Islamophobia, discrimination, and civil rights violations.”
After his conversion to Islam, Webb left a career in the music industry and pursued his passion in education. He enrolled at the University of Central Oklahoma, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. Webb previously served as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater OKC and Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.
Currently a resident of Washington DC, Webb serves as the Resident Scholar for Make Space, and is the founder and instructor at Ella Collins Institute of Islamic and Cultural Studies.
Other featured speakers for the evening include Nihad Awad, Executive Director and co-founder of CAIR; Imam Imad Enchassi, founder, imam and president of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City (ISGOC); John Ederer, Imam at the Islamic Society of Tulsa; and Arif Abdullah, Imam and Spiritual Leader at historic Masjid Mu’min in Oklahoma City.
Emcee for the evening will be CAIR-OK member and Youth Leadership Program advocate Nadia Enchassi.
“2014 was a milestone year for CAIR Oklahoma as we welcomed our first ever full-time staff attorney on board with the goal of furthering our ability to defend and protect the rights of Oklahoma Muslims,” Soltani said.
“We also faced some of our most daunting challenges in the past year with the rise of hate speech and Islamophobic rhetoric from Representative John Bennett backed by the Oklahoma Republican Party
“The faith and social justice communities supported us during this difficult time and we became a stronger organization as a result,” he added.
Established in 2006, CAIR-OK is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
Sponsors include the OK Conference of Churches and Advanced Printing and Marketing of Oklahoma (APMOK)
“In addition to increasing our civil rights work in Oklahoma in 2015 and beyond, we hope to truly empower Oklahoma’s Muslim population by way of hosting Days at the Capitol, promoting a better understanding of civic engagement and participation, and building a stronger relationship between Oklahoma’s Muslim citizens and those elected to represent them,” Soltani added.
Individual tickets are $45 and student tickets are $30. Sponsorships begin at $500 for a table for eight, plus recognition in the event program booklet. Childcare registration costs $15 per child ages 6 months to 12 years old.
To register or for more information visit www.cairoklahoma.com or call 405-415-6851.