(Albany, NY) The Muslims of America, Inc. (TMOA), hosted the International Islamophobia conference at The Muslim Community Center (MCC) of the Capital District in Schenectady, NY. The event began with a moment of silence for the victims of the Paris and Beirut tragedies the day before. It ended with the passing of a resolution to fight Islamophobia, and to demand justice for the three Chapel Hill Martyrs whose accused killer is awaiting trial, and for the residents of Holy Islamberg, whose terrorizer is due to be tried January of 2016.
With flags from nine countries draped behind him, His Eminence Syed Muhammad Ahmed Sultan Shah Gillani El-Hashimi Al-Hassani wal Husseini ceremoniously opened the program. The Imam of the Muslims of America, Inc., His Eminence El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gillani El-Hashimi al Hassani wal Husseini delivered a stunning pre-recorded opening address. A coalition of international delegates then publicly spoke out against human rights violations and later vowed to stand together to fight these injustices. The delegates were: Muhammad Matthew Gardner, USA; Syed Mudassir Shah Gillani El-Hashimi al Hassani wal Husseini, Canada; Bineta Diop, Senegal; Atif Qarni, Pakistan; Imraan Siddiqi, India; Tiffany Bowers, Taiwan; Eydid Ali, Bangladesh; and Al-Alima Safiah Abdus Salaam Al-Azharia, Egypt.
The conference venue was actually the very site that convicted felon Glendon Scott Crawford targeted with a lethal high-powered x-ray machine. As panelists described the impacts of the Crawford and Robert Doggart failed terror plots against New York Muslims, the audience was visibly shaken. Dr. Bilqees Abdallah read a statement from Dr. Muhammad Abu Salha, whose daughters Razan and Yusur Abu Salha and son-in-law Deah Barakat were murdered February in Chapel Hill, NC. “Living in the West and being proud of their Arab descent while loyal to this great country, our children have added more beautiful shades and colors to the American rainbow,” Abdallah read of Dr. Abu Salha’s words. People struggled to compose themselves as the details of their brutal deaths were read. “There were times I was in tears listening to what was happening to Muslims in the United States,” stated Qamaria Abdus Sabur from Massachusetts.
“There are people in this world who deliberately create lies about Islam and Muslims with the intention of bringing a clash among faiths,” said program organizers. “ISIS is an anti-Islamic movement, Islam is a religion of peace and not a terrorist religion,” said Hon. Hussein Adams, the CEO of TMOA. The conference presented accounts of Muslims being targeted, where the threats have been under reported by the mainstream media. TMOA experienced its own threat in the spring, when Holy Islamberg, which is home to a congregation of predominantly African-American Sunni Muslims was the target of a foiled Islamophobic terror plot by a right-wing domestic extremist, Robert Doggart of Tennessee. The story received no media coverage until residents of Holy Islamberg began their own grassroots campaign to bring the matter before the American public.
“This conference brought together some of the best and brightest in the field of Islamophobia awareness” said conference planning committee member, Tahirah Amatul-Wadud. “Each one of the panelists, moderators, and attendees should leave feeling empowered to join each other in coalition to fight this phenomena.”
The speakers were Tahirah H. Clark, Atif Qarni, Julia Reischel, Imraan Sidiqqi, Robert Gavin, Bineta Diop, Dawud Walid, Malikah Jones, Sayeed Shakir, Hanifa Legree and Dr. Umar Bowers. Yasmin Abdulatheem Shahid and Tahirah Amatul-Wadud served as moderators, and Maryam Rahim was the program’s mistress of ceremonies. “This is not a conference where we get together and talk about the problem. This is a conference where we talk about the problem, talk about the resolution, and publicly commit to joining forces against Islamophobia,” said Ms. Amatul-Wadud.
There were nearly 300 conference attendees while thousands watched all over the world via Livestream.
The delegates, attendees and panelists are invited to join a project called the The International United Muslim Forum where the group will actively use the political process to eradicate Islamophobic policies.