NEW YORK CITY: A Banquet was held on Nov. 3 at the Hotel Roosevelt here which was attended by over a thousand Muslims of various ethnic groups belonging to dozens of countries. Guests of honor on the occasion which was organized by the Muslim foundation of America Inc. included former Congressman from California, Pete McClosky, the publisher of Washington report on Middle East Affairs, Andrew I Killgore the famous New York civil rights lawyer William Kunstler and Dr. Muzammil Sideiqui.

The fifth annual event sought to bring unity amongst various organizations under the banner of Islam and better understanding between the Muslims and nonMuslims. It is organized by Mohammed Abbul Munim who also publishes a periodical devoted to Islamic issues called the Minaret.

In his remarks Killgore who is also a former U.S Ambassador to Qatar called upon the recent immigrants to educate their children and to push them into the fields of Law, Politics, and Public Affairs so that they could be involved in the American political mainstream.

He said he did not want the immigrants to under-estimate the difficulties in settling down in America. When the Irish immigrants came they were discriminated against and there were even signs saying “Dogs and Irish Keep Out”. Now four generations later people proudly say “I am part Trish”.

“America is wide open but it is an incredibly ignorant society. Once you get to know us we are good people,” he added.

William Kunstler recounted his association with the famous Black Muslim leaders like Malcolm H and Abdul Haq Mohammed and said he still had a copy of the Holy Quran which the latter gave him.

Kunstler also recounted how he defended a Muslim soldier Alferd Griffins who refused to fight in Grenada as the Quran asked its followers to wage only defensive wars and not offensive ones. Griffins got the minimum sentence in that case.

He called U.S. refusal to give a visa to P.L.O. leader Yassir Araffat a travesty of the U.S Constitution Kunstler remarked on how the Banquest coincided with the Jewish festival Hanaka and said he would tell his children of “this nice gathering “ as a Hanaka present.

Congressman McClosky spoke of his 15 years in the House of Representatives and said it took all immigrants like the Irish, Chinese and Japanese, four generations to fully participate in the political process of the U.S.

He referred to the separation of the State and the Church in the American Constitution as well as the freedom of press in the country. Talking about the political process in the U.S., he said, the politicians tended to win with small margins and this made the organized lobbies politically effective.

Article extracted from this publication >> December 30, 1988