tv Muslim Public Affairs Council Hosts Banquet CSPAN January 2, 2017 4:22am-5:10am EST
completed ballot papers to the door person in the lobbies. afterwards, members of the youth parliament, please return to your place in the chamber. those of you on my right should leave the chamber by the door behind me and turn left into the eye lobby behind you. those on my left if you would leave by the doors at the far end and turn left into the no lobby behind you.members of the house of commons staff will be on hand to assist you. the division lobbies are now open , hank you.
>> the presidential inauguration of donald trump is friday january 20. c-span will have live coverage. watch live on c-span and c-span.org and listen live on the free c-span radio app. >> last month the muzz limb publicaffairs council met in long beach earlier this month. peaking there was california's
members. this is an hour-and-a-half. gooo everyone of you. thank you. >> thank you. king, for always bg there for so many people who believe in the u.s. constitution, believe in this country's motto -- that if you work hard and play by the rules, you will get ahead. and thank you for bringing everyone together who believes that the future of this country can't be strong. -- can it be strong. i want to congratulate the honorees for tonight. i want to thank some of the people that will speak here like u fromcolleague, ted lie
congress. you are going to have some very distinguished features, -- speakers, like mr. kazeer kahn. mr. khan has etched himself into the hearts and minds of so many because of the words he has spoken on behalf of himself, his wife, and his done. -- son. i want to say a few things to you as you prepare for 2017. you are important. you are important for the things that you do together, but you are also important in ways that you would not recognize. you make it possible for many of us to not only be friend and colleague, but you also give us the talents of tomorrow. have anry fortunate to intern in my communication shop. she came from the work that impact does.
i want to thank everyone who made it possible for me to have my staff. [applause] rep. becerra: and perhaps, most importantly, i want you to know, and i expect many of you can say this, i know you. i know you much better than you know. i know you because i suspect you work hard and you live by your values and you play by the rules. i know you because you build bridges, not walls. i know you because you believe and fight for our constitution. and i know you because you want essentially what my parents wanted when they came to this country. what i want to be able to tell our children. that they own their own home, we will send you to college and be able to retire indignity after -- in dignity after the hard work we get to this country. because i know you, because i am the son of immigrants, because i love america, my country, so
much, because i am a member of congress and because i have been fortunate to be cap -- tapped to be the next attorney general for the state of california, i want you to know i stand with you. i want to make sure you can take -- you can say with pride that i have your back. [applause] and i want you to know, after done whenis said and we stand here, when we fight together, hug because of the values we share in this great country i want you to know it is , because i know you better than you think. we will work together to make this country prosperous and strong. [applause]
mr noureldin:i have the honor of introducing someone else, u,ngressman ted lou -- lie who donated to impact because of the rhetoric and heard during the campaign, and new impact would be working against that rhetoric. congressman lieu? [applause] rep. lieu: good evening, it is my honor to be here. let me first thank and recognize my great colleague, javier. he is going to be a great attorney general for the state of california. let's give him a big round of applause. [applause] me to pleased he asked get remarks tonight. before i do that, i want to recognize your co-founder and
president for his many years of dedication serving the community. i like to call him up. i have a statement of congressional recognition and it in recognition of your work in serving the muslim american community, we hold sincere appreciation for your work upholding core american values and preserving constitutionally protected freedoms for all americans. congratulations. [applause] rep. lieu: i want to talk about two issues. the first is the discrimination that you and i have faced and will likely continue to face and how we can fight against that.
this is not the first time i spoke at impact. i had the honor speaking here four years ago after you recognized me for being the first official to challenge lowe's after their advertisement during the show "american muslim." on aieve he it was based bigoted and fearful response, and we stood up and challenged that company, and what we see now is echoes of that starting to happen. one reason i reacted so strongly to that incident is that it reminded me of discrimination i had encountered. different ethnic groups in america encountered different kinds of discrimination. there is a form of discrimination that is somewhat unique and it's one that affects asian-americans and american muslims. it goes like this. when some americans look at you or i, their first thought is
that we are not americans. that we are not loyal to this country and we are somehow suspicious. we are second-class citizens. that has had a series of profoundly negative effects in our country's history. the asian community, you had the whole "yellow hysteria and and asiansteria", land laws that prevented agents from owning land and then the interment camps. and last year, you had five separate cases where defendants committeded to espionage, only to have those charges dropped months later. the only connection was that they all looked like me -- they were all asian-americans. within the muslim community, you have gone through an entire presidential campaign where there were racist and bigoted attacks against the community.
you had to hear the president-elect talk about banning muslims and setting up a registry. you had a lot of very negative stereotypes put out there. what i want you to know is that i will be a voice in congress for you. i will fight for you. [applause] rep. lieu: i will fight for you, defend you and stand with you. you, theyme after will be coming after me. [applause] rep. lieu: we are all in the same boat together in this amazing country called america. we rise and fall as a nation. we are not just individual subgroups. our framers were pretty smart and this is why i think we have
hope. they created a pretty good system of checks and balances. they created an entire congress as a check on presidential power. they created an entire judiciary on a check of governmental power. this is going to lead to my next subject, things you can do. you can do what i did, give more money to impact. [applause] rep. lieu: i gave money to impact earlier this year because i was so offended by some of the rhetoric i was hearing in the presidential campaign. i also became a donor to the aclu and the southern poverty law center, who go in -- [applause] rep. lieu: they go in every day and fight your constitutional rights. you can also work on different public rallies, you can go to join the million women march on
january 21, you can run for office. [applause] rep. lieu: you can also take part in community events. you can do what you are doing right now, being an active and good participant in your community and also think about writing letters to the editor and op-eds. it turns out that "the new york times" and "the washington post" get a lot of letters, but they are often from the same people. your voices can be heard as well. if we stand together, we will show the voters of america there is a right way to do this, a wrong way to do this, and in two years we can vote again and make a judgment, and then in four years we can do that again as well. [applause] rep. lieu:i look forward to
working with all of you, i am deeply honored you asked me to speak and i am now going to recognize two of your awardees tonight. the first person i am going to introduce is rumana ahmed. i will give her introduction and give her her impact award. rumana currently serves as the senior advisor to ben rhodes at the white house. she is been instrumental in getting the muslim american voice not only heard but understood by the obama administration. two years ago, she hosted a muslim women emerging leaders of -- event at the white house bringing together girls who pursue careers in government, journalism and stem. , she's the only muslim working in the west wing of the white house during this administration. [applause] rep. lieu:why don't you come on
up, we have this very cool award. it says, in the name of god, most compassionate and merciful, we strive to never -- together in a race towards all that is good. [applause] ms. ahmed: first of all, i want to thank congressman lieu for for the honor of just even being on the state with him. as somebody who as a child and growing up was in the camp of not believing in government, never being interested in politics, almost hating
politics, and wanting to stay far, far away from government, it is a true honor to be on stage with him and be honored by him. i say that as someone who is converted, having been on the inside and having the opportunity to work in government and learned the true impact you can have on individual lives. i will say a little bit more about my experience later, but i want to thank impact for their leadership and the honor of having me here. more importantly, for also getting me out of d.c. for a bit to warmer weather. i appreciate it. i also want to thank them for always playing such a key role in engaging the white house. they have always been at the table. if there is anything i have learned, it is that having a seat at the table is more important and critical than just on the menu to be discussed. -- being on the menu to be
discussed. as a to recognize them for something i don't see in many organizations that i admire about impact, and that is how, as you may have noticed, it young, innovative and energetic leaders. [applause] ms. ahmed: often time it is hard to give young people leadership opportunities, because you are not sure they know what they are doing. but as someone who freshly came out of college with no work experience or government experience, summoning gave me -- someone gave me the opportunity and put their trust in me in the white house and through that opportunity, by failing and falling and losing sometimes, i learned to be better, stronger, and wiser. that was how i was able to move up in the white house and that is how we will the able to strengthen and empower the young leaders of our next generation.
i want to share a few things i have learned, especially given the time we are living in right now and recent developments that have taken place. that is, i learned the importance under this administration's -- administration of grassroots organizing and building partnerships. it is not just about standing one issue, but every issue. we saw that take place most recently at standing rock. it was not just the native american community to stand on their own but it became , everyone's problem. we can no longer look at it as a black lives matter issue or a muslim issue, but all of our issues. [applause] election, after the people have come to me, asking about how we will plan for the muslim community and i have said
we have to plan across every community, because that is how we are going to be stronger. you have to know your strengths, because knowledge is strength and so is personality. when i first started working at the white house, i first day in the west wing i felt very conscious of myself and i was not sure how people would see me, to be honest. i was nervous. i was not sure if people would think i didn't have the same experience as others because of my looks. i didn't feel that way again until the day after the election. i became conscious of the fact that i have the greatest opportunity because of this country, because of the values of this country. i was given the chance, given the right and i was able to work in the most prestigious building in the entire u.s. personality and character mattered in the process of that. right now we are living at a , time when not everybody has gotten to know me or a muslim american or an african-american or a native american. that is why it is our responsibility to make sure we
are lifting our voices across every community and sharing the stories. the other thing i learned that is a reminder for us all right the four ps -- patience, perseverance, persistence and prayer. that -- prayer. that will get us through the difficult times we are about to face and it will make us stronger and better. the civil rights movement are a perfect example. people were hurt and killed and people suffered. and now look at where we are today. it is still not perfect. the african-american community still faces a lot of challenges but we have come a long way. that is the hope that we as a country know will prevail at the end, that we will come together , stronger and more powerful. the last thing i want to leave you with is that as a child, post 9/11 in middle school, as someone who was called a terrorist, who was told to leave
this country and pushed down the stairs, never in a million years did i imagine that i would get to work for this president at the white house. [applause] like myself, -- myself, i have met so many more incredible individuals through my work in the white house. i met a palestinian woman in morocco who it started a business program to empower other women. such as a woman in columbia who , with very little resources, created a farming program for other women so they could become entrepreneurs. more recently i went -- met at the white house a group of cuban on printers. they had barely any money, yet -- entrepreneurs.
they had barely any money, yet they knew that with the little they had, they had a role to play to make the world better. and while it was a little bit funny, it reminded me how all these years we may have been too comfortable. now it is our turn to work 10 times harder. these cubans i met with, they asked me, what is going to cap into you? will you be allowed to stay in this country? i said, i don't know, but i'm willing to fight for that. they immediately offer to me, people with very little resources, the one who is a business advisor, she said to me, don't worry, i will get you a business in cuba. the party planner said, i will plan you a welcome party when you get to cuba. the other one, who owned a bed-and-breakfast, said she would provide me food and a home. while it was sad to hear that, it was also encouraging. the biggest thing i came away with is that compassion is something that exists in all
humanity. even in the worst of times we have to remember compassion will prevail. these individuals worked hard with very little, and a still dream they -- big. i truly do believe that in the darkest of times that we have faced and may face, the greatest moments of opportunity. with that, i want to say that, i know we are all talking about what has happened and what is going on but we have to stay positive and work 100 times harder. i am proud to know that that organizations like impact exist out there, and i look forward to working with other organizations once i leave. thank you. rep. lieu:the next awardee is sarah sayeed. she is served as a bridge
between the mayors office and muslim communities for many years. she has resolved many civil liberties issues resolved -- involving the targeting of muslims in new york. she worked at the interfaith center of new york. she hascapacity, brought together several leaders in great ways. let's give her a great round of applause. [applause]
ms. sayeed: good evening. entireou so much to the impact family. member -- congress congressmember lieu. it is truly an honor to be here with all of you and on a day when we are marking the birthday ophet. pr this award is an affirmation that we are building beautiful connections in new york city between the city and muslim new workers. building a bridge, the theme of this conference, are only needed when there are two land masses not --nt. connection -- want that connection. i want to credit the new york muslim communities on one hand
and mayor bill de blasio on the other for your open engagement and stronger relationships. [applause] ms. sayeed: without that desire i would not be here and that would be -- there would be no bridge. we know, also has to end bearings. i'm grateful to god that i have my faith and spirituality as one of those anchors. grateful to my family, who has gotten used to not seeing me often, but they offer their unconditional love and nurturing. thank you. in my first week on the job as senior advisor, and this was back in june of 2015, i got a call from the office of the chief medical examiner. they wanted my help to develop more culturally responsive services for muslims in new york city. for those who do not know, the cme office handles autopsies in
the event of criminal or unexpected deaths. office,w, in the me islamic rule is burial within 24 hours and we have a religious objection to autopsy. had dealt with a family that was objecting to the autopsy and they ended up doing the burial because they all had to negotiate, lawyers got involved, and as we know, when lawyers get involved things take a lot of time. they were calling me, because wanted to avoid having to go -- they wanted to avoid having to go through that in cases where families were objecting, if possible. we were working together to create a system and process that would counsel families who and also educate the m.e. office and hospitals on muslim burial laws. this effort, on the local level, was a crucial effort that we needed to engage in that allows us to align our values and
islamic guidelines with secular law. but what is challenging about doing this kind of work is that we are doing it in a charged national security backdrop. so part of my job is to get better at rapid response and help build trust between law enforcement and new york city communities, and create policies and programs that respect civil rights and safeguard the city. as we know, terrorist violence feeds a dark rhetoric about islam and muslims in this is has ultimately resulted in backlash that has targeted arabs, muslims, sikhs, anyone who looks muslim. through public safety and know your rights forums, we have been educating new yorkers about their rights for identity safety, protection from discrimination and their rights as immigrants. but as we engage on issues of security and safety, have to
remember that muslims, more than victims and terrorists, are first and foremost human beings. stories like the one i just shared about the medical examiner are not about national security or backlash. muslims have stories about living their lives as every day new yorkers and americans. that is the story i am most interested in and that i think we need to work together to uplift. [applause] stories that are about as as human beings. stories about our giving birth, growing up, old, and dying. about our struggles to make ends meet to pay the rent. stories about how we are giving back, reaching out and building bridges.
i was asked to talk about what is redeeming in my work, and i would say it is moments like the ones i talked about, meeting with the chief medical examiner. bringing together south asians, arabs, and business contractors to talk about business in the city. working together to feed -- finding ways to work together with the city on domestic violence, working together to feed the homeless. these are the stories that showcase who we are in our fullness, in our humanity, and our dignity. i am so grateful to have an opportunity to do this work on behalf of muslim new yorkers and muslim americans and muslims worldwide. and one of the biggest, and i won't say the best, but maybe i will say the best city in the world, and to work with mayor bill de blasio, who is one of
the most progressive and visionary leaders today. [applause] ms. ahmed: -- ms. sayeed: thank you again to impact for recognizing me. [applause] mr. woolery: good evening. i'm the special agent in charge of counterterrorism and crisis response for the los angeles fbi. it is indeed an honor to stand before you today, though these lights are very bright so i can only see about a third of you. [laughter] woolery: i'm glad to be here, i think i have something important to say.
my dear friend salaam invited me and i have a story to tell before i get started. tosends on email -- an email me a couple of weeks ago to remind me of this fantastic event and he says, we have celebrities, we have congressmen, senators, we have a schedule. we have to keep it tight, you have five minutes. in my mind, i have to follow the five b's of public speaking. the five b's. be brief, brother. be brief. [laughter] [applause] mr. woolery:i'm here to talk to you tonight about a topic that has trended upward recently. it is something that is near and dear to us and something -- thank you.
and something that we can all be a part of, we all need to be conscious of this, we need to be aware so that we can protect ourselves. hate crime. crime --ime hate define hate crime for you so you know what it is the fbi looks at when we are investigating these things, when we come into the community and we investigate. hate crime is a traditional offense, and traditional criminal offense like murder, arson or vandalism with the added element of bias. congress has defined a hate crime as a crime against a person or property motivated by bias toward race, religion, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation. the fbi's jurisdiction to investigate hate crime is primarily predicated on for
-- four federal statutes, which generally requires three circumstances the use of force -- circumstances. the use of force or the threat of the use of force or conspiracy to use force, or conspiracy to the threat to use force. secondly, targeting victims because of race, color, religion or national origin. and thirdly, additional motives to injure, intimidate or interfere with some specific, federally protected activity or right. so i just armed you with the definition of hate crime so that, god forbid, if you encounter instances of this kind of crime, or you think you have
encountered instances of this crime, you now know that you can report it. you now know what to report. you can report it to your local police, you can report it to the fbi, you can report it to the leadership of your islamic center. the bottom line is that you have to act. i am stating a.", -- standing up here, i am talking to you, making you aware of what it is we need to know so we can come out and protect you, but it requires you to act, as well. >> -- because we are a community. so i implore upon you, if you see these instances of bias or hate, please report them. there is a situation here where we experience underreporting in hate crimes, so we need to get that information so that we can do our jobs. the other thing i want to talk to about is something that happened on november 28 that had to do with a number of letters
that were sent through the u.s. mail system to a number of the vitriol nature of those -- sent through the u.s. mail system to a number of islamic centers here in southern california and across the country. the vitriol nature of those awful language contained in the letters and whether or not it was a hate crime. there was a lot of media attention, a lot of interest and questions. there were a lot of fears. what will be did as the community, impact was a big part of that. salaam said to me, let's get out and make a unified statement to stand against this type of criminal behavior. to let the community know that
we are one community and that we are here together for this common fight. [applause] mr. woolery: i used the same see something, say something, but also to do something. right? it is not enough for us to just see it and maybe say something, but we have to do something. we have to call it in, we have to make people aware of what is going on. an educated community is a safer community. so there are two things i want to add to this. one is leadership. on november 28, as the community stood in front of the media and talked to the community about these letters, the imagery of us standing together united, that is leadership.
that is leadership. the other thing we need to do is we need to grow that leadership into partnerships. what do i mean by that? i mean at a grassroots level, we need to make sure that everyone understands how unified we are. we look different, we do different things, but are we really different? i think we are more similar than we are different. we are more similar than we are different. we showed on the 28th how unified we can be. those partnerships were important that day. lastly, i want to talk a little bit about threats. we hear about threats all day, every day. it is in the media, it is international, it is global.
we saw last monday how a threat was called into a national hotline center in australia that had to do with the metro red line here in l.a. that was an anonymous threat, and we saw how that threat galvanized the community, it galvanized your law enforcement so that we could go do our jobs and we could protect you. we talk about threats, we talk about threats all the time. but i submit to you as i close, i think i'm good to be on my five minutes, sorry about that, salaam. i cement to you that our greatest -- submit to you that our greatest threat is that we as a community are not unified. that is our greatest threat. [applause]
mr. woolery: ladies and gentlemen, i stand with you tonight building bridges, breaking barriers. good evening. [applause] ms. ahmad: in the name of the divine, the most compassionate, the most merciful, peace be on to each of you. before i start, i think salaam is trying to play a trick on me, having a federal public defender go on after an fbi agent.
we usually see them on the witness stand. [laughter] for those of you who ahmad,know me, i am seema and i have the blessing of standing before you as the chair of the board of the muslim public affairs council. [applause] thank you. i say blessing because in these political, trying times, there is no place, no group, no organization that i feel more humbled, brothers and sisters that each of you who are here as mpac.f an impact -- [applause] ms. ahmad: i know many of us are feeling fear and anxiety and
despair about the recent election and the direction of american politics, but the antidote to fear is action, and that is what mpac has been about .or the past 30 years what i personally love about mpac is that at a time when our religion is under such vicious attack, mpac represents the highest ideals our faith. just as a young baptist minister named martin luther king relied on his christian faith to advance the cause of civil , grounded in the islamic egos of justice, has always worked for the adamant of -- the betterment of american muslims. [applause] what is critical, and this is really important, mpac has never been just about muslims. since i was a young girl, mpac has been singularly focused on the idea that when american
muslims prosper and when justice prospers, that america as a whole prospers. [applause] ms. ahmad: and for that reason, for the last 30 years we have stood by other communities just as we are doing right now. right now, we are standing with the most vulnerable amongst us, our undocumented immigrant brothers and sisters who are working to combat mass deportation. [applause] ms. ahmad: we are standing with our jewish brothers and sisters, and we put together a petition to oppose the appointment of steve bannon. [applause] ms. ahmad: and just this week, just this week, we delivered that petition to congress with over one million signatures.
[applause] ms. ahmad: after the tragedy in stood on the steps of the islamic center of southern california with lgbt clergy and leaders to affirm the human dignity of our lgbt brothers and sisters. [applause] ms. ahmad: and similarly, we have taken positions on mass incarceration, gun violence, and law enforcement safety, as well. [applause] ms. ahmad: and what this means is that our work for the last 30 years has poised as for the for theecisely challenge that is ahead. we are resilient and we are not alone. i want every muslim and every muslim young person that is in this room of 1300 people to hear this loud and clear, you are not alone.
[applause] ms. ahmad: thanks to the work of mpac, you heard from for our powerful elected officials, and i think i speak for all of us -- congressman ted lieu, who has worked to protect us and used his power to protect us. [applause] ms. ahmad: we heard from law enforcement, the fbi, who pledged to keep us safe. and after dinner, we will hear from artists and hollywood and media superstars like george khan, and van
jones who know the heart of our community and will use their megaphone to amplify our voice. [applause] ms. ahmad: because of the alliances we have built for the last 30 years, we are ready to continue the fight for all american muslims. there are a few very beautiful verses from the koran that capture what i am saying tonight. the koran teaches us and says, truly with hardship comes ease. with hardship comes ease. it is such a simple verse, and yet so profound. i think it is profound because it is true for all of us. we all have personal hardship in our lives, whether it is lost or
-- loss,r sickness, sickness, or difficulties in our families and jobs. i think we know that with hardship, yes, ease does come, but it only comes after we have taken action. when we have fought that disease or had a difficult conversation. now we're in a collective moment of hardship, and although we so desperately want that ease to come, the koran teaches us we have to act for it. there is another verse that says, on those believers who do righteous deeds, the all compassionate shall ordain love on those individuals. it is such a beautiful verse. it doesn't distinguish between muslim and non-muslim, man and woman, race. it talks about doing a righteous deeds as the path toward love. what that verse does is transform all of us.
we are not passive victims. we are the privileged and we are the lucky that get to do good and do right in times of difficulty. [applause] ms. ahmad: to that end, all of you know that mpac has to exponentially increase our work over the next year. our 2017 budget is $1.8 million. and so, i am asking all of us here to make a commitment for us to raise a significant portion of our 2017 budget. i'm setting a target of $250,000 for tonight as our fundraising goal. [applause] ms. ahmad: there are three ways to give.