8 March, Chicago, Staff Reporter
Anjuman-e-Saifee, Chicago held an outreach event on March 8, 2018 to celebrate the birth anniversary of His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mohammed BurhanuddinRA and the birthday of His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal SaifuddinTUS. The event was meant both as a testimony to their love for the country they reside in and a manifestation of their firm faith.
Leaders from across the political, religious, and organizational spectrum attended the program.
Chief among the invitees who attended the event was Congressman Peter Roskam, who represents Illinois’ Sixth District in the United States Congress and is the fourth ranking Republican in the House. Congressman Roskam appreciated the diversity of the people gathered at the masjid, saying that this is what America was all about, where people of different faiths can flourish without the fear of persecution.
March 8 was also International Women’s Day and it was fitting that the consul generals of India and Pakistan both lauded the efforts of His Holinesses for the betterment of their communities. The Indian Consul General Mrs Neeta Bhushan mentioned in particular that Maula was the first to take up the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” project launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As the keynote speaker, Consul General Bhushan, a career diplomat who has been stationed in many countries including Bangladesh and Dubai, spoke about the enormous achievements of women worldwide in fields such as medicine and business to becoming astronauts and Olympic athletes.
The Consul General of Pakistan Mr. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi expressed happiness that Syedna had chosen Karachi as the venue for the observance of Ashara last year and hoped that Maula would once again grace Karachi for next during next Ashara.
The event was also attended by the Counsul General of Egypt Mohamed Aboueldahab, who rearranged his plans to attend the event, the mayors of Oakbrook-Gopal Lalmalani, Willowbrook-Frank Trilla, Darien-Kathy Weaver, and Burr Ridge-Mickey Straub, along with officials from the CIA, FBI, and US Attorney’s office in Chicago. Members of the Customs and Border Protection, the Tri-State Fire Department, and the Naperville Police Department, as well as religious and community leaders were also present.
The Mayor of Burr Ridge Mickey Straub wrote the following in his Friday Wrap email to the Burr Ridge community. His words reflect the sentiments of many of the government officials and community leaders who attended the event:
“It was quite amazing to learn how many dignitaries converged upon our area for what I thought was going to be a local, religious event. As I drove up and walked in, I quickly learned that a couple hundred people from Burr Ridge, across the area, and even from Washington D.C., came to participate in the Dawoodi Bohra Community of Chicago Celebration and International Women’s Day event.
It was held at their mosque along Kingery Highway in unincorporated Dupage County and attended by several priests, pastors and religious leaders from the area. In addition to Congressman Peter Roskam (one of the main speakers) it was also attended by officials from the FBI, CIA, several local mayors including Frank Trilla (Willowbrook), Kathy Weaver (Darien) and Gopal Lalmalani (Oak Brook) and members of Tri-State Fire and the Naperville Police Department.
One of the keynote speakers for this International Women’s Day event was the Consul General of India-Chicago, Mrs. Neeta Bhushan, who is a career diplomat and has also served in Japan, Germany, Bangladesh and Dubai to mention just a few of her postings. The Consul General gave a very moving speech about women worldwide, especially those of Indian origin, with enormous achievements in everything from medicine and business to becoming Olympic athletes, actors, entertainers, etc.
Speaking of the Bohras she said,
“I have always admired the community’s commitment to faith, family, education and career, but what also stood out at this event was their love for friendship, community and America.” She especially praised His Holiness Syedna Saheb’s love of education and peace and prayed for His Holiness’s long life.
Guests were visibly moved at the beauty of the masjid and the facade of al Jami’ al Anwar, that had been created to house an exhibition and as the backdrop for the formal function. The first part of the exhibition described a Bohra’s life from birth to death using photographs that reflected how deeply Syedna’sTUS presence is inherent to our lives. The second part focused on Syedna’s personal achievements in the fields of education and diplomacy and his multiple initiatives for uplifting the community. Most of the government officials who attended were new to the community and observed the exhibits with a keen interest in learning more about Syedna Saifuddin.
Chicago Amil Saheb Janab Noman bhaisaheb welcomed all the guests and extolled the vision and humanity of His Holiness, especially in the education of women and their central role in society as mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. He felicitated all the VIPs with the ceremonial shawl.
Female guests also received flowers in celebration of International Women’s day and all guests received a gift from Anjuman-e- Saifee. The event was emceed by Aamir Chalisa and included a recitation of verses from Syedna Saifuddin’s TUS poem composed on the occasion of the 2016 Convocation at Aligarh University.. Guests were invited to tour the masjid after the conclusion of the formal event followed by dinner which, in keeping with tradition, was delicious. Community members got an opportunity to meet all the officials and interact with guests. It was indeed a get together that brought together people from various faiths and it was a great evening of celebration of humanity.