Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona Recognizes Local Multi-Faith Community Leaders for Building Bridges through Education
By Nidah Chatriwala
Rohina Malik (Left: playwright and actress), Azra Hussain (Center: president of Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona) and Alex Kronemer (Right: writer and documentary producer)
On Oct. 19, the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona (ISBA) held its annual Building Bridges Awards Dinner at the Phoenix Airport Marriott. The spectacular event had over 110 attendees, which included award recipients and special guests from the local multi-faith community.
The ISBA Building Bridges Award is given to individuals or organizations in Arizona who have shown a sincere commitment to building bridges of understanding between different communities through education. This year, Charles Johnson, Mumina Malik, Suzanne Bassal, Rheem K., Todd Daniels and Dr. Bruce Johnson were recognized for their outstanding efforts for uniting Arizonaâ€™s multi-faith community by spreading knowledge.
Prior to the awards ceremony, Alex Kronemer, who is a well-known writer and documentary producer, gave a lecture on the Abrahamic traditions through a metaphysical perspective giving the audience something to think about even after the event had concluded.
The entertainer of the night was actress and playwright, Rohina Malik, who performed her most talked about skit, â€˜Unveiledâ€™. Her powerful performances made the audience laugh at her humorous bits and cry as she shared real life tragedies happened to those she met throughout her life.
These two guests were a perfect fit for this yearâ€™s awards dinner because their mission and ISBAâ€™s mission are the same. The only difference is the medium they use to educate about Islam and Muslims. Kronemer uses his documentary films whereas Malik uses performing arts as her medium to educate.
â€œWe use human beings presenting same material in two different formats. Their mission and our mission are the same,â€ enthused Azra Hussain, president of ISBA.
The event educated, entertained, enlightened and even encouraged the audience to take their very first step toward building a solid multi-faith community.
â€œIt was really fun seeing everyone come together and celebrate positive things going on in the communityâ€ expressed Ellie Chesko, graduate student.
Arizona State University student, Amberlyn Williams said, â€œIt was an enlightening and fascinating event; I went in as a volunteer helping out a friend, and am now considering joining the Abrahamic Faiths Panel!â€
â€œI think itâ€™s a great way to build a trust between different religions and cultures. The best way to live in peace is if we understand who weâ€™re living with, and I think the dinner did a wonderful job in conveying needed informationâ€ shared Sophia Qamar, high school student.