​(GAITHERSBURG, MD, 4/30/13) – Some 500 guests turned out on Sunday for the inaugural banquet of the Maryland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MD) at Martin's Crosswinds in Greenbelt, Md. The banquet theme was “Upholding Our Constitution, Defending Our Faith.” 

The sold-out event’s program began with a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon attacks. Speakers included CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad, Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler, Maryland State Senator Brian Frosh, and attorney/activist Wajahat Ali. In his remarks, Nihad Awad stressed the need for Americans to unite in face of challenges that threaten our communities. 

The program featured an awards ceremony recognizing Marylanders in the categories of Media Excellence, Civil Leadership, Community Service, and Youth Leadership. 

The CAIR-MD board also formally announced the launch of the “Equality for Eid” campaign – an effort spearheaded by CAIR-MD and a broad-based coalition to advocate for inclusion of the Eid holiday in the Montgomery County Public School calendar. 

A video presentation highlighted several of CAIR-MD's accomplishments and initiatives during the eight months of its existence. 

Banquet attendees included senatorial and congressional representatives, officers from several Governor's commissions, activist and interfaith partners, and mosque and community leaders from Baltimore City and nearly every county within Maryland. Almost 30 organizations, law firms, and businesses sponsored the event.

"Seeing representatives from nearly every county in the state come together was particularly promising. However, our work together does not end here. We need the community to continue to support and remain engaged with CAIR-MD so that we can continue to serve, mobilize, and empower Muslims in Maryland," said Community Organizing and Outreach Director Zeshan Mustafa. 

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MD Vice President Zainab Chaudry, zchaudry@cair.com (410) 971-6062; CAIR-MD Outreach Director Zeshan Mustafa, zmustafa@cair.com, (301) 660-7640​

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