[Michigan- April 15, 2015]: The American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) extends its heartfelt appreciation to all of its friends and supporters who joined it for its semiannual “protecting our Humanity” dinner that was held on Friday, April 10, 2015 at Byblos Banquet Center in Dearborn, Michigan. It was very gratifying that close to 500 guests attended the event among them dignitaries, elected officials, law enforcement officials, members of the bench, and community leaders. Professor Michael Thomas, AHRC Executive Board Member, served as the Master of Ceremony. Ms. NaCarla Williams, an eleventh grader at Martin Luther King Senior High School in Detroit sang the American National Anthem. Dr. Opada Alzohaili, AHRC President, addressed the attendees highlighting the strong commitment and dedication of the AHRC to the cause of human rights. He noted the human crisis all over the world and the vital role of the AHRC in promoting and advancing human rights at home and abroad. Dr. Alzohaili welcomed the guests, thanking them for their gracious and generous support of AHRC’s mission and vision. Dr. Alzohaili acknowledged all the board and team members to the audience, thanking them for their efforts on behalf of AHRC and noting the promising future as well as the challenges facing AHRC. State Representative Fred Durhal III, 5th District- Michigan, addressed the attendees regarding the state of prisons in Michigan. He highlighted the challenges facing the prison system in the state as well as the budget allocated for the correctional facilities throughout the state as well as the impact on the inmates and their ability to be rehabilitated. Representative Durhal III presented possible solutions and reforms needed to help the system be more effective. Representative Durhal III asked the community at large to work diligently together to make the prison system succeed in its mission serving all stakeholders.
Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director, Imam Mustapha Elturk, Co-Chair of the Imams’ Council of MMCC, Imam and President of the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA) and AHRC Executive Board Member and Reverend Rani AbdelMaseeh, Mother of the Savior Lutheran Church, made a special presentation of a Tribute of Honor to Kayla Mueller who was a victim of hate and terror, who was kidnapped and killed by the terrorist group ISIS/“Islamic State.” Kayla was an aid worker who spent years of her life helping those in dire need in the refugee camps in Palestine, Lebanon and in Syria. Her parents, Carl and Marsha Mueller, were present to receive the Tribute on behalf of Kayla. Kayla’s parents made heartfelt comments resulting in a spontaneous standing ovation from the attendees. Kayla’s parents spoke with tears in their eyes, moved by being in Dearborn, Michigan from Arizona to celebrate Kayla’s legacy. The messages was loud and clear that terrorism, hatred, violence and extremism at home and abroad are our common enemy, and that we all stand united against hate.
The program included brief remarks, embracing the culture of human rights, by Anita Peek, Executive Director, Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute; Judge Denise Langford Morris, Oakland County Circuit Court; Judge Michael Warren-Oakland Circuit Court and co-founder of Patriot Week. Former judge and former US attorney, attorney Jeff Collins, author of “Do the Right Thing; Make Ethics Your Brand” also made a brief comment.
Abdullah Mamun, Deputy Director of Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), traveled from Texas to make a special appearance highlighting MLFA’s work on behalf of justice in America. He noted the future cooperation and partnership between the MFLA and the AHRC in providing legal assistance to community members through MLFA’s newly formed Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA ). More information will be shared in the near future regarding this joint effort by MLFA and AHRC.
In addition, AHRC received several proclamations and citations on behalf of its work and its dedication to human rights as well as in recognition of Kayla’s humanitarian work. These citations were from: Anita Peek, Executive Director, Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute; State Rep. Mary C. Robinson, District 4; Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, State Representative District 8; State Rep. Leslie Love, District 10; the 15 members Wayne County Commission; Councilwoman Sheffield, City of Detroit (Spirit of Detroit Award); Mayor Dan Paletko, Dearborn Heights; Mayor Jack O’Reilly, City of Dearborn; Mayor Karen Majewski, Hamtramck; Detroit Board of education and Detroit Police Commissioners’ Board.
Ms. Minnie Washington, AHRC Executive board member and the AHRC Internship Program Supervisor delivered the closing remarks, thanking AHRC’s friends and supporters for their warm support and invited them to continue their support, On behalf of the AHRC, she expressed sincere appreciation to all AHRC’s generous sponsors, to the Byblos Banquet Hall team and to all the volunteers for a job well done.
“AHRC’s tribute to Kayla Mueller was inspirational. The Tribute brought together religious, civic, and community leaders from across the nation to celebrate Kayla’s life and gave attendees the opportunity to express their appreciation for Kayla’s sacrifice and contributions to humanity. It is an event that I will never forget. We are all committed to continuing Kayla’s mission,” said State Representative Rose Mary C. Robinson, member of the Michigan House Judiciary Committee.
“Seeing the dedication and life commitment of Kayla Mueller should inspire us to work harder to advance human rights. Let our work reflect the sacrifice of Kayla as we work to realize social justice for all. We all salute AHRC for its work and recognize its efforts in advancing the cause of human rights,” said Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, State Representative District 8, Urban Education Reform Adviser and Chair of the Democratic Caucus.
“You should broaden the scope of AHRC beyond the American national scene into an international network of like minded organizations working together to uphold the moral and ethical values to which you are committed to. Congratulations on your semiannual event and particularly in honoring the humanitarian aid worker Kayla Muller. Kayla personified the commitment to the noble cause of human rights,” said H. E. Ambassador Clovis Maksoud, National Chair, AHRC Honorary Board.
“It was truly an honor to be invited to the dinner reception and witnessing the dedication from so many individuals in protecting human rights of those who are at risk. Protecting peoples’ rights is the foundation this country was created on, and the AHRC stands above all in serving the needs of those whose rights are being denied or violated. In addition, Kayla Mueller’s heroism and humanitarianism and is to be cherished as she devoted her entire life to aiding and assisting disadvantaged groups and individuals.” Jewel Ware, Wayne County Commission.