Eid Milan Celebration Highlights IMAGH’s Evolution as a Community Voice

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At the IMAGH Eid Milan held last weekend, from left, Dr. Maqbool Haq, Chairman BOD, IMAGH; Sunny Sharma, President, Sister Cities Project; Devon Anderson, Harris County District Attorney; Parvathaneni Harish, Indian Consul General; event emcee Dr. Samina Salim; Latafath Hussain, President IMAGH; Tyeb Shipchandler, oldest member of Club 65 and Abeezar Tyebji, Chairman of the IMAGH Board of Advisors.


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By Zaid Hussain

HOUSTON: Each year as it has grown from a nascent group barely six years ago, the Indian Muslim Association of Greater Houston has made inroads towards its mission of fostering amity across cultures, communities, and religions. This past Saturday evening, August 1, the IMAGH made it clear that it had reached its goal when it held its 6th Annual Eid Milan event at the Marriott Westchase hotel on the city’s westside.

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From left: Sunny Sharma, Dr. Samina Salim, Devon Anderson, P. Harish, and Latafath Hussain.

Over 400 people attended the event and highlighting the diversity were a large delegation from the Hindus of Greater Houston, representatives of the InterFaith Ministries of Houston; the current leadership of the India Culture Center; and the presidents of the Ismaili, Bohra, and Ahmadiyya communities, as well as distinguished individuals from business, law enforcement and academia. Chief among them was the Harris County District Attorney, Devon Anderson, who brought along several other key people from her department.

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SAYA Members with Latafath & Abeezar

During the social hour, volunteers of the South Asian Youth Alliance and its Seniors Club 65, both community service initiatives of IMAGH, worked the registration table. The event began with a warm welcome by Dr. Maqbool Haq, Chairman of the Board of Directors, who outlined the purpose of the Eid Milan and was followed up by a sermon by Imam Vazir Ali Wazir about who Muslims are and why they celebrate Eid. Grand Sponsor of the event was Sunny Sharma, the President of the Sister Cities Project and former District Governor of 64 Rotary Clubs, who spoke of peace and unity between religions.

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Baby sitting Service

Chief Guest Anderson got a rousing ovation when she said that “law enforcement and Muslims have one thing in common – a few bad apples have given both the institutions a bad name”. She added that just as terrorists do not represent the Muslim community, a few bad prosecutors or police officers do not represent the majority of hard working and honest law enforcement officials, adding that the media should see how bad “stereotyping” can be. “IMAGH already does what I want to accomplish with the District Attorney’s office,” she lauded, “and that is community outreach”, through Club 65 and SAYA.

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The Ladies of IMAGH

A buffet dinner catered by Nirvana restaurant, for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, was a hit and one guest quipped that “they were going through both lines”! After dinner, the Consul General of India Parvathaneni Harish congratulated the guests for making the Eid Milan  “a true reflection of India’s ‘Ganga, Jamuna, tahzeeb’, and applauded IMAGH for being a sponsor of the recently held successful International Yoga Day (see IAN, June 17, 2015), adding he was amazed that several Muslims volunteered to work, even though it fell during Ramadan and they were fasting!

This event was made special by the emcee, Dr. Samina Salim, whose razor-sharp wit and proficiency in English, Hindi, and Urdu truly wove the evening together. IMAGH presented Ashma Moosa, a cancer survivor who has logged thousands of hours volunteering for the community, with the prestigious Community Service Award. The evening was wrapped up with melodious geets and ghazals by the hugely talented Intezar Ahmed, and with guest singers Vishwakarma Raj and Uma Mantravadi.

Guests raved about the warm hospitality, delicious food, captivating entertainment, but most of all, the outreach of the Indian Muslim community prompting Venugopal Menon of the Hindus of Greater Houston to compliment them. “[IMAGH deserves] a great compliment for initiating a concept of camaraderie among factions,” he summed up, “for fostering a candid notion to bring in the similarities between ideologies as we all attempt to approach the Ultimate through our various versions of upbringing and established measures to convince all that our differences are trivial and inconsequential.”