By TMO Correspondent
More than 700 people participated in the 23rd annual convention banquet of American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) that took place in Orlando on September 28, 2013. Indian Union Minister of Minority Affairs, Dr. Rehman Khan inaugurated the convention. The delegates reaffirmed their commitment to scores of education programs initiated in India for the betterment of Muslims. They also supported the initiatives taken by the Ministry of Minority affairs to allocate scholarships to deserving candidates, condemned the divisive and communal forces for creating an environment of fear and instability for the minorities, and pledged to strengthen the secular forces in India.
left to right: Dr. Aslam Abdullah (AFMI Trustee and Emcee of the evening), Mr. Azhar Aziz (VP ISNA), Florida Senator David Simon (Majority Whip), Dr. AS Nakadar (AFMI Trustee), Dr. K. Rahman Khan (India’s Union Minister of Minority Affairs), Dr. H. Hussain Nagamia (Convention Chairman, President-Elect, 2013), Shri Ajit Kumar (India’s Consul-General, Atlanta), Dr. Tajuddin Ahmed (immediate past AFMI president), and Dr. Mohsin Jafar (Executive Member of KSIMC).
Delegates from all across the United States and Canada came to attend the convention. The following dignitaries addressed the convention: Union Minister Dr. Rahman Khan, Florida Senator David Simmons, Counsel General of India, Atlanta, Ajit Kumar, Dr. Hussain Nagamia, AFMI’s President-Elect, Dr. Mohsin Jaffer, vice president of World Shia Federation, Azhar Aziz, Vice President of the Islamic Society of North America, Dr. Abdul Rehman Nakadar, AFMI Trustee and Dr. Mohsin Jaffer of Miami who represented Dr. Asghar Moledina, President of World Federation (UK) of KSIMC who couldn’t attend due to unforeseen circumstances. Shaikh Kalbe Rushaid, a shia Scholar from India presented his views on the assigned topic.
Dr. K. Rahman Khan, Minister of Minority Affairs, Government of India, applauded AFMI for its education programs in India and invited Muslim Americans to partner with the Minority Affairs to help develop infrastructure for the Muslim community for future educational growth. Dr. Rahman Khan also invited the AFMI leadership to an exploratory meeting to be held in Delhi in the first week of January to discuss the level of cooperation between Muslim Americans and the government of India. He explained that strict laws pertaining to endowment (waqf) property in India have been passed and better opportunities and schemes have been launched to help minorities achieve better educational standards. He said that 60 million Muslim youth need guidance for their future and any institutional help in this direction would create a better community in the future.
In his speech, David Simmons (R), a majority Whip of the Florida Senate emphasized the positive contribution Indian Muslims have made in the USA in improving relations between the US and India. He praised AFMI for fulfilling its moral and social obligation to the country of origin of its members.
Azhar Aziz, VP of ISNA, applauded the education programs of AFMI and urged the participants to contribute to the educational upliftment of the Muslims of India. He said that education is the birthright of every individual and AFMI programs in India have helped members of the minority community attain their rights at the grass roots level.
Mr. Kalbe Rushaid said that Muslim Americans are proving a catalyst for change among Muslim Indians. He applauded AFMI for bringing together Shias and Sunnis on one platform.
Dr. Nakadar focused on the achievements of AFMI in education, relief, and rehabilitation and political education. He gave details of various projects that AFMI has supported over the years to improve the educational status of Muslims in India.
Saleem Khanani, chief coordinator of the AFMI’s 23rd Annual Convention, 2013 (middle).
Florida Senator David Simmons, Majority Whip, speaking at the AFMI Convention.
Florida Senator David Simmons, Majority Whip, presents the Pride of India Award, 2013, to Dr. K Rahman Khan, Indian Union Minister of Minority Affairs.
Dr. Hussain Nagamia, incoming president and chairman of the convention, talked about the specific AFMI projects in India that are geared to the educational needs of Muslim girls.
The Consul General of India in Atlanta, Shri Ajit Kumar talked about the increased trade ties between India and the US and spoke about the investment opportunities present in India for US citizens including NRIs.
Among thunderous applause Dr. K. Rahman Khan received AFMI’s Pride of India Award for 2013. This year’s The Excellence Award went to Dr. Asghar Moledina, the president of KSIMC.
Dr. Tajuddin Ahmed, immediate past president of AFMI, Dr. Sarfaraz Ahmed (Ph. D), Er. Asif Javed and Dr. Naeem Moon received the Distinguished Service Award of 2013.
The Emcee of the evening was Dr. Aslam Abdullah (Las Vegas-NV), an excellent orator, who controlled the speaker’s time and kept the audience humored by his lively snippets.
Winter Garden City Commissioner Bobby Olszewski, his wife, Mrs. Allison West Olszewski, and Mr. Rick Singh of Orange County Property Appraiser were recognized. Mrs. Aysha Rahman Khan received warm welcome. Mr. Saleem Khanani, chief coordinator of the convention committee, received a big ovation for his efforts in making the convention a big success.
Earlier during the day three different panels focused on youth empowerment, viz a viz: educational empowerment, economic empowerment and political empowerment. Among the speakers were: Azhar Aziz, (Dallas-TX) Dr. Nagamia, (Tampa-FL) Ali Qureshi, (Albuquerque-NM) Dr. (Mrs.) Razia Ahmed (Cleveland-OH) Dr. Iqbal Ahmed (Cleveland-OH) Dr. Siraj Uddin Ahmed (Chicago-IL), Dr. Tajuddin Ahmed (Springfield-OH), Dr. Sana Uddin,(Indianapolis-IN), Dr. Afzal Chowdhary (Orlando -FL), Imam Abufarrah Helmi Elagha (Orlando-FL) Yasin Arshad (Orlando-FL) and others.
The banquet dinner was followed by classical Sufi singing by the famous Amjad Sabri. The program lasted till 2:00 AM and yet no one wanted to leave.
The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) is a North American based grassroots organization, dedicated to socio-economic and educational development of Muslims and other underprivileged masses in India.
Contact: AFMI, 29008, West Eight Mile Road, Farmington MI 48336, USA Tel: 248-442-2364; Fax: 248-476-8926 Email: email@example.com; / http://www.afmi.org/