By: Heidi PP, Editor in-Chief, iF Magazine
On Sunday, April 10, we had the honor of participating in the Mayor’s annual Iftar dinner held at the Bayou City Event Center. Mohammad Saeed Sheikh worked closely with the Mayor in coordinating this significant event for the City of Houston. The event began in the afternoon with the registration of more than 500 VIP guests which included consuls, city officials, congressional representatives and other notable business people. The registration of vip guests was followed by more than 1500 other attendees. This is the second largest Iftar event in the country.
Ms. Nadeen Mustafa was the Mistress of Ceremonies. Opening remarks were given by Chris Olson, the director of the Mayor’s Office on Trade and International Affairs. This was followed by a recitation from the Holy Kuran by Imam Edip Deger.
The National Anthem of the United States was rendered by Tasneem Islam. A welcome to all guests was given by the honorary chair Nasruddin Rupani, chairman of IBN Sina Foundation.
Mohammad Saeed Sheikh, Coordinator Houston Iftar, recognized the elected officials and dignitaries of which there were many present.
The main sponsor and guest of honor Syed Javaid Anwar of Midland Energy, introduced the mayor whom he called a friend and colleague of several years. Mayor Turner was the keynote speaker. In his address to the guests, he emphasized Houston’s diversity and praised the fact that Houston is not only diverse; but also, inclusive. He stressed that we have residents from more than 120 countries in Houston, and they work together to make Houston’s economy and quality of life one of the best in the nation. In his address, he pointed out that there were more than 2000 present for the Iftar dinner, the second largest in the US. He looked at Mohammad Saeed Sheikh and said that the Iftar dinner in 2023 will have 3000 guests if he has to move it to the George R. Brown. Rep. Al Green said that hurt his heart because the Event Center is in his district, but he will be supportive and will be there. He also said they could expand the Event Center. The Muslim members of the city council and other city officials were thanked for their service. Mayor Turner said that it is very important that we have Muslim elected officials at all levels of government locally and nationally. The Muslim residents are vital members of our community here and nationwide.
Governor Abbott gave a recorded greeting by video welcoming the guests and thanking the mayor for organizing such an event in Texas.
Other speakers included: Ayman Kabire, President Islamic Society of Greater Houston; Imam Kamal el Mekki, Islamic Center of Clear Lake; Imam Ahmad Khan, Islamic Society of Greater Houston.
Call to prayer was led by Hafez Aquib Ghazi.
Breaking of the fast was at 7:47pm following the prayer.
The Organizing Committee was chaired by Nasruddin Rupani. Members were Chris Olson, Jessica Ngo, Irada Akhoundova Orhan Osman, David Godwin, M. J. Khan, Akhtar Abdullah, Mian Nazeer, Nasar Ahmed, Ilyan Hasan Choudry, Dr. Hina Azam, Emran Ghazi, Mahmoud Ahmed, Mohammad Saleem, Shahid Bital, Syad Asad Ali, Maria Usmani, Azka Zarnab, Faraz Hamza, Nadeen Mustafa, Saad Ansari, Dr. Md Mahmood, Dr. Javed Ashraf, Auneeb Sheikh, Jumana Malbari, Fatima Contractor, Farha Iqbal, Saad Ansari, Ellen Goldberg, Naheed Ahmed, Aplatun Kawsher, Azeb Yusef, Aza, Akhtar, Shenila, Naseem, Rafiq Ali Maknojia, Mahmood Marfani, Nasreem Azmat, Rehman Patel, Ifti Hussain, Tazeem Zahida, Sobia Siddiqui, Nusrat Laghari, Abdur Rehman Sdat, Abdul Sattar Qureshi, Abdul Rasuf Khan, Zafar Iqbal and others.
The Organizing Committee was assisted by many businesses and public, and private organizations.
Such a dinner could not have happened without the generosity of sponsors:
Syed Javaid Anwar, Midland Energy Inc.; Islamic Society of Greater Houston; TARA Energy; Helping Hand for Relief and Development; Murad Ajani; Nasr Khan, Wallis Bank; Dawood Bohra Masjid; M. J. Khan; Emran Ghazi; Ibn Sina Foundation; Rupani Foundation; Pakistan Association of Greater Houston; Islamic Relief-USA; Law Offices of Omar Khawaj; Sherali Haiderali; Tajddin Momin; Elite Indo-Pak Restaurant; Imperial Spice; Ahmed Al Yasin; ICNA Houston; Akhtar Abdullah; Curve Hospitality; Guidance Residential; Farooq Asmat; Greater Houston Retailer Cooperative Association; Harmon Sjaikh-HRSS LLC.; Nasruddin Rupani; Shah Haleem; Law Offices Of Misbah Chaudry; Indian Muslims Association of Greater Houston; Sams Club; Syed Nadim Rizvi-HNC Amusements; Orhan Osman; South Asian Chamber of Commerce; Turkish Center; Muslim Ummah of North America- Houston Chapter; North American Humanitarian Aid and Relief; Devn Islamic Finance; Sattar Qureshi, Mahid Lala and Zatar Iqbal.
Announcements about the event were on all media:
ABC 13, ARY News. Dunya News. Desi TV, Geo News, Hum News, Hum FM, Jang Group, Indian American News, International Focus Magazine, J’ago Times; Lebanon Times,Muslim Observer; Pakistan news; Pakistan Chronicle; Pakistan Journal; Pakistan Times; Urdu Times; Radio Naya Andaz; Radio Dabang; Sangeet Radio; The News; TV One; Voice of Asia & WAA TV
Special Thanks go out to:
Bayou Center Event Center, Tempura Food Management, Sage Productions, Zeejay Productions, KAS Inspirations, Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill, Famous Food and Sweet Factory.