By: Agha Shaukat Jafri
It is my turn!
The Mission of Islamic Republic of Iran at the United Nations, in keeping with its annual tradition, hosted a dinner, this past Tuesday evening, so as to facilitate a meet and greet session with his Excellency President Hasan Rouhani. The guest list included Muslim leaders, scholars and religious dignitaries as well as Imams of Mosques from across North America. The formal setting of the event was pleasant and the participants enjoyed every aspect of the event that concluded with a sumptuous dinner. Despite extremely tight security, the attendees were able to move freely around the hall.
President Rouhani opened the session by welcoming the Muslim representatives, reminding them about the horrific happenings of the present times. He stressed the need and urgency for Muslim unity, highlighting the salient parts of his address, he had delivered, earlier that day to the members of General Assembly. Dr. Ghulam Ali Khushroo, the permanent Representative of Iranian Mission to the United Nations and the moderator for that evening’s festivities, offered the floor, to the participants to make comments and ask questions. He chose Nihad Awad as the first person from the audience to direct his question to the attention of the President of the Islamic Republic.
Mr. Awad introduced himself as the head of Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization that, with its 30 branch offices was charged with administering and directing the politics and policy making aspects of Islam and Muslims, in North America. While failing to mention the existence of other Muslim organizations such as Shia Public Affairs Committee (SHIA PAC), he falsely touted about the role of CAIR with respect to its involvement in public diplomacy and its assistance in supporting the success of the Nuclear deal between Iran and the World powers. Rather than commending the President of Iran and his team for resolving the matter of Nuclear armament in a peaceful manner, Mr. Awad, unleashed a vicious line of attack with implied manifestations that Iran was , somehow responsible for all the bloodshed and destruction taking place in Syria, and that it must stop supporting Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria.
Mr. Nihad failed to mention that CAIR, along with Muslim Public Affairs council (MPAC) and a few other U.S. based and Saudi funded Salafi entities, was declared by the U.S. government as unindicted co-conspirators in the 9/11 tragedies. Also, absent from his self serving sermon, was the universally known fact that 15 out of 19 bombers involved in that tragedy, were from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and that according to the 9/11 commission findings, numerous members of Saudi royal family were identified as active accomplices in planning, programing and executing those heinous acts. At no time, did Mr.Awad point a single finger of criticism against the Kingdom, nor did he ever condemn the Saudi-led coalition for its indiscriminate bombings in Yemen, and other atrocities that the kingdom along with its underlings in the Gulf are shamelessly perpetrating in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and parts of African continent.
Imam Abdul Haleem, an African-American Sunni Muslim from Al-Islam Mosque in Washington,D.C., another attendee at the event did not hesitate a bit in castigating Mr. Awad, for making false and flimsy allegations against the Islamic Republic and publicly lectured him to research his facts. Nihad Awad, who is a frequent guest of the Saudi kingdom, had the audacity to disrespect the president of Iran with total disregard to diplomatic decency and the most basic civil discourse. As an agent of the global Wahhabi establishment, he followed Salam Marayati of MPAC, who exhibited exact same vulgar and vociferous demeanor, while speaking at a similar setting, almost two years ago. Although, President Hasan Rouhani, quite effortlessly and with total command of the subject matter on hand, refuted the acrimonious assertions made by Mr. Awad, the grotesque goons of his kind must be curtailed in the future from entering the confines of such rich and robust surroundings!