By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
August 14, 2013, Pakistani American community celebrated the 66th independence of Pakistan with a flag raising ceremony at the Santa Clara County Headquarters in San Jose, CA.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese said he was proud to sponsor this event with the American Muslim Voice (AMV).
The Pakistani flag was raised jointly the Cortese and Khalid Saeed, the National President of AMV.
After the flag raising ceremony at the County building a cultural program was presented where a Pakistani American college student, Havva Munir, thrilled the audience with her presentation of the American national anthem. Pakistani national anthem was presented by Mohammad Saleem.
Dave Cortese welcomed the audience and said "as a grandson of an immigrant from Sicily I know what soul searching means."
He said that this is a great opportunity to celebrate the diversity of Santa Clara County. He added that Pakistani Americans are a large part of area's healthcare and technology workforce.
The Santa Clara County passed a resolution on the occasion of Pakistan's independence day. Dave Cortese presented plague of the resolution saying that Santa Clara County recognizes Pakistani American community, honors the many contributions Pakistani Americans have made to our community, and extends best wishes for its continued success in the future.
The Santa Clara County resolution pointed out that Pakistani Americans represent a culturally rich heritage and vibrant Santa Clara County community which represents a broad sector of professionals in fields such as: medical, law, business, education, government, technology, social services and non-profits and more.
The resolution also recognized that Pakistani Americans had worked to improve community relations through the building of coalitions, alliances, promotion of cultural understanding and have played a significant role in immigration reform and other social justice concerns.
Santa Clara County member, Jonny Khamis, also presented a plaque on behalf of the Mayor of San Jose recognizing the contribution of the Pakistani Americans.
In his speech the AMV President, Khalid Saeed, pointed out that the Pakistani flag raising ceremony at the Santa Clara County HQ symbolizes the recognition of the diverse and multi-cultural heritage of its society.
He thanked the Santa Clara County, the city council members and supervisor, Dave Cortese, for making this historic event possible.
He also recognized the efforts of Samina Sundas, the Founding Executive Director who was the point person to initiate this effort and then in putting this program together.
Samina Sundas, the MC of the program, has served on the Santa Clara County Human Rights Commission for several years.
On the American multicultural society, Khalid Saeed went on to say that it is good for all, only on the condition, that every member of this society shows itīs respect and tolerance to all other around us. That is only possible if we make a conscious effort to understand each other.
However, he added, even after more than a decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the peaceful 7 million strong Muslim community in America, is a victim of guilt by association and remains under siege.
Khalid Saeed, in this respect, pointed out that according to a report titled “The Fear Inc.” by 'The Center for American Progress' think tank, 12 American foundations have spent over 42 Million dollars during the last 10 years to fomenting "Islamophobia' in United States and systematically and continuously keep stirring up hate against the Muslims.
Hence, Khalid Saeed added, the American Muslim Voice Foundation has taken up the responsibility of a very important duel task of educating our fellow Americans about Muslims and Islam as well as to educate our own community about the importance of interaction to "let our fellow American know that we the Muslim are ordinary people with the same hopes and aspirations as anybody else."
"Our goal is to not let haters define us," the AMV President concluded.
A Power Point presentation was shown depicting the Pakistani culture and heritage.
Javed Iqbal amused the audience with his presentation of Jeevay Jeevay Jeevay Pakitan (Long live Pakistan).
Pakistani American community activist Rima Chaudry expressed her thoughts about Pakistan
Among those who addressed the audience included: Board Member of the Human Development Foundation Javed Khan; President of OPEN Shahab Riazi and President and chairman of the board of Pakistan American Cultural Center (PACC), Asghar Aboobaker.
The program was sponsored jointly by the Santa County and the American Muslim Voice. It was co-sponsored by Chandni Restaurant; Dr. Waheed and Sabiha Siddiqee; Ellahie & Farooqui Law Firm; Human Development Foundation (HDF); Javed and Shahnaz Iqbal; Pakistan American Arts Council (PAAC) Greater Sacramento; Pakistan American Cultural Center (PACC) San Jose; OPEN Silicon Valley and Tariq & Sowaiba Munir.
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