On Tuesday May 25 of 2016, I had the great honor of receiving the Eden Prairie Human Rights Award for 2016. The Eden Prairie City Council and Human Rights and Diversity committee granted me this title for my “efforts to uphold the values of the City’s Human Rights Manifesto by building bridges of unity and dismantling mis-information and fear about Muslims”.
I received the award at Eden Prairie City Hall, Minnesota, in the presence of the Mayor, Nancy Tyra-Lukens, city council members and Human Rights and Diversity committee Liaison, Patricia Fenrick.
I now know that I was nominated by a good friend of mine, Megan Mardock Soukup. Megan and I have taken ECFE classes together and watched each other’s kids grow since they were babies. I remember expressing my thoughts and frustrations with our moms group whenever a terror attack took place and making myself available for any questions. Megan also participated in events I had planned for the purpose of establishing bridges with the larger community. She has always been a great friend and awesome supporter!
I want take the opportunity to thank my husband and loving partner for encouraging me in every possible way to pursue this effort. I also want to express great appreciation to my close friends Barbara, Zamzam and Nausheen for personally supporting me by words and actions every step of the way. I want to thank every single person that was present with me in that room and shared my special moment, and those whose thoughts were there with me but couldn’t make it. Please know that your encouraging words, trust and faith in me are a big part of this title.
When I received the email announcing me as the recipient I had to call my husband and ask him: what exactly did I do? All I did was dedicate my time to meet people and visit institutions that want to know more about Islam from a MUSLIM. The Islamic Resource Group and Engage Minnesota were great platforms for such interaction.
I have spent 30 years of my life living in a region where the only right I was advised to practice was the right to be silent. Not anymore. Not in America!
It’s about time unmasked Muslims present their own dear faith and have a voice.
Peace be upon you all.
Photo courtesy of Barbara La Valleur