If Islam Pains, Houston Cannot Function: Honorable Mayor Sylvester Turner at the Annual Houston Ramadan Dinner Attended by Large Numbers Despite Rain
Houston (Our Special Correspondence): In the wake of the tragedy in Orlando, the 2016 Houston Ramadan Dinner with the Mayor organized by the Sister Cities of Houston’s Muslim Associations in partnership with the Islamic Society of Greater Houston and other respectable groups became more of a somber occasion.
All the speakers, including Honorable Mayor Turner, Honorable Congresspersons Sheila Jackson Lee & AL Green, Honorable Judge Ed Emmet of Harris County, Chairperson of the Event Masrur Javed Khan President of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH), Coordinator of the Event Muhammad Saeed Sheikh President of the Houston-Karachi Sister City Association (HKSCA), Imam Wazir Ali of Masjid AL Quran & Masjid W. D. Mohammad, Dogan Koc of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog, Murad Aijanai President His Highness Agha Khan Council, & Emcee Ms. Mona Khalil: They all spoke zealously & with sadness about the senseless killings in Orlando, and stressed the solidarity with the victims and their families, as well as their outrage on the committing of such a heinous act wrongly in the name of religion.
“I had prepared a different speech for today, which I hope I will present next year….This year I just want to say that if any part of your body aches, your mind & brain does not work properly. Similarly if Islam is Hurting, Christianity is Hurting, Judaism is Hurting, & the Humanity is Hurting, how can the City of Houston function? We will all need to come together, and work for peace & harmony in ourselves, our societies, our world, and help heal everyone out of the pain.”
These were the fervent words of Honorable Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner, who during his first tenure was the keynote speaker at this traditional Houston Ramadan Dinner.
Muslims from various diverse ethnic backgrounds, and people of other faiths from the Greater Houston Area came together to celebrate this 2016 Annual Houston Ramadan Dinner on Sunday, June 12, 2016 at the picturesque Bayou City Event Center located behind the METRO Train Assembling Center in Houston near the Medical Center. More than 1,500 persons were in attendance despite heavy rains earlier that afternoon.
Emcee of the evening was Ms. Mona Khalil, who started off after the recitation of Quran asking people for a moment of silence for the victims of Orlando. In his welcoming remarks as the Chair of the Event, Masrur Javed Khan, President of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) said there are forces out there, who want to divide Americans and communities across USA; and if all the Americans come together not to tolerate each other, but to respect & be in solidarity with each other, then no one can divide us.
Honorable Judge Emmet said that he is from East Texas, and has on his shelves of reading material that he reviews regularly Bible, Hindu Scripture, and Quran: There is need for people to read and understand various communities: There is no place for violence.
Other than showing their dismay of the incidents in Orlando, Congresspersons Sheila Jackson Lee and AL Green in very fiery from the heart speeches, which brought people to their feet in ovations, condemned the charged and heated political environment in USA, and said if someone wants to say something generally against particular groups of people like Muslims, Hispanics, etc., Americans will make sure that they do not become the President of USA.
Murad Aijanai, President His Highness Agha Khan Council, introduced the Mayor Houston. While addressing this impressive gathering of Iftar Dinner hosted by ISGH, and Abu Dhabi, Baku, Istanbul, & Karachi Sister City Associations, along with the other sponsoring & collaborating organizations at the Bayou City Event Center, Hon Mayor of Houston Turner said it’s important for all communities and faith to come close & understand each other; and that this kind of mammoth events brings with it the real opportunity of understanding among varying citizens of this culturally diversified and harmonious city.
“In the years to come, we will need even bigger place for this growing event of significance,” added Mayor Turner.
Earlier Coordinator of the Houston Iftar Dinner Committee, Saeed Sheikh welcomed the guests and thanked all the sponsors & collaborative organizations for their immense support in making the event most successful. In his video message Governor of Texas Abbot also extended his best wishes to the Muslims around Houston, Texas, USA and the world.
“This event shows a beautiful portrait of Brotherhood, where all races and religions under one roof are enjoying peacefully, the serenity and core essence of Ramadan,” exclaimed one of the participants.
Imam Shahid Rizvi of the AL-Noor Society of Greater Houston led the Mughreb Prayers. One of the finest and sumptuous cuisines in the town of Tempura Restaurant, Turkish DNR Grill, and Greek Salads were served, and volunteering services were provided by the Ismaeli Muslim Community, Helping hand For Relief & Development, and the City of Houston Office of Protocol & International Affairs.
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