Anwar Saleem (third from right) receives an award from Muslim Journal Internation- al Editor Ayesha K. Mustafaa, Anwar, program host Ibrahim Mumin and Masjid Muhammad Imam Talib M. Shareef. (D.R. Barnes/The Washington Informer)
Anwar Saleem (third from right) receives an award from Muslim Journal Internation- al Editor Ayesha K. Mustafaa, Anwar, program host Ibrahim Mumin and Masjid Muhammad Imam Talib M. Shareef. (D.R. Barnes/The Washington Informer)

Members of Masjid Muhammad, the Nation’s Mosque, hosted a three-day conference and the 18th annual “A Time to Be Grateful” awards dinner celebrating the Masjid Muhammad’s 85th anniversary and the Muslim Journal’s 47th anniversary.

The event was also held in conjunction with the anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued on December 10, 1948, the date that the Nation’s Mosque was built in the nation’s capital in 1960.

Ambassador Rashad Hussain (D.R. Barnes/The Washington Informer)

Imam Talib M. Shareef, President of Masjid Muhammad, welcomed more than 400 attendees who traveled across the country to attend the awards dinner and participate in workshops addressing an array of social and justice issues, including youth violence.

In his message to the participants, Imam Shareef shared, “This year’s event comes at a time when America has been blessed to weather the storm of challenges to itself, to our Democracy, and is moving towards closing this year a little brighter than the previous— focusing on the excellence of family, our collective life, and our inherent goodness as human beings.  It is truly a time to be grateful.”

He cited record-breaking voter turnout, the confirmation of the first African American female appointed to the Supreme Court and numerous Muslims appointed to the Biden Administration as a reflection of the event’s theme: “Shared Freedom Space, Created Equal with Inalienable Rights.”

The Muslim Journal, in its 47th year of continuous publishing, was originally founded by several Muslim ministers and followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammed. Included among them was Malcolm X.  

Ambassador Rashad Hussain, International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State, who represented the Biden Administration, urged in his keynote address the Muslim teachings of no person is superior to another, and expressed gratitude to the teachers who set the tradition of equality in the U.S.

“I am so grateful to be in a country that allows us to practice our faith freely. And we work hard to defend the right of all Americans who practice their faith or who don’t express any faith to practice their religion,” Hussain said.

When Muslims are suffering around the world, and face genocide, Hussain explained, “We have to act on it here in the U.S. and around the world.”

“We have to protect international religious freedom, …particularly religious minorities,” he added.

Honorees at the awards ceremony included Anwar Saleem, president of H Street Merchants and Professional Association and executive director of H Street Main Street, who urged attendees to take back their communities. He cited efforts along the once riot-torn H Street corridor that turned the area into a vibrant business corridor with desirable places to live.

Muslim Journal International Editor Ayesha K. Mustafaa encouraged attendees to support Black-owned media, “the voice for Black America.”

The program was hosted by Ibrahim Mumin and comedian Sylvia Traymore, who kept the room laughing with her jokes and impersonations of Michelle Obama, and artists including Whoopi Goldberg and songstress Dinah Washington, to name a few.

Denise Rolark Barnes

Denise Rolark Barnes is the publisher and second-generation owner of The Washington Informer, succeeding her father, the late Dr. Calvin W. Rolark, who founded the newspaper in 1964. The Washington...

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1 Comment

  1. Sister Denise Rolark-Barnes, I enjoyed the article you wrote about this event, and I’m grateful that you and Lafeyette were able to attend this event and share some social time with me and my wife in the Gree-Room prior to the event. However, I feel a little bit more could’ve been said about some of the other D.C. residents that received awards including the award I was presented by Prince Georges County Police Chief Malik Aziz.

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