G do The Montgomery County – Radford City – Floyd County Branch

of the NAACP presents

The 36th Freedom Fund Banquet

Theme: Urgent Desire for Freedom

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Latham Ballroom,

Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center

Program begins at 6:00 p.m. - Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

For more information & tickets, please contact the MRF Branch

at 540-382-6751 or email info@naacpnrv.org

~ 300 people attendance


Rev. Archie Richmond: Civil Rights Then

Dr. Jonathan Gaines: Civil Rights Now

Closing Remarks (& benediction) by

Sedki Riad, Director of Islamic Center of Blacksburg
Invited by Dennis Means based on the nomination of Ray Plaza

Email Invitation:

On Saturday, September 24, 2011, we will be hosting our annual Freedom Fund Banquet at 6 pm at the Inn at Virginia Tech (please see attachment).  I'm hoping that you might be available to give closing remarks (a benediction) at the event.   You would come as a guest of the branch and would be able to bring an additional three people with you at no charge.

Dennis Means

Closing Remarks (& benediction) by

Sedki Riad

Director of Islamic Center of Blacksburg and Professor at VT

I would like to start with the Islamic Greeting of Peace: Assalamu Alaykum


Thank you for inviting me to participate in this great event…

Thank you Dennis and thank you Ray for this wonderful opportunity!

Thank you all for this important civil rights organization, the critical principles it stands for, and the necessary work it does.


Before I start, I would like to introduce my two companions for this event, my wife Randa, She is originally from Sudan.  She studied in Sudan, The Netherlands, and finally obtained her PhD in Education last May from VT.   


Respected party:

When I talked to Dennis about giving the closing remarks at this event, I told him that I am a preacher and frequently give the Friday Sermon at our local Mosque… my religion will come through my words either implicitly or explicitly.  His response was, “no harm in the use of explicit language.”  I hope that you will feel the same way…


As a Muslim, I start with quotes from the holy Qur’an, Surat Al-Hujurat (49:13), (TOM)
“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he/she who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”


I was raised as a Muslim, and the principles laid down in these verses were instilled in me from my earliest days… this is how I was brought up… That we, humans, were made into nations and tribes, so that we may know each other… not despise each other…


We are all the children of Adam and Eve and we are all brothers and sisters… we are members of the same family… We are all relatives…


We are all made of the same ingredients… we are a product of this earth:  we are made of clay, soil and water… and when we die we go back to that original form of soil and water… this is the circle of life.


We are made of this earth, so is everything else around us… soil and water are the ingredients… But the Creator Gave us something unique that distinguishes us from all His other creations… He Gave us the free will…  He Gave us the ability to think and learn…, the ability to distinguish right from wrong, the ability to choose and decide, the ability to judge and make our conclusions…


Our Creator Has chosen for us almost everything about our beings, yet, He gave us a very substantial choice… The choice of our will, the choice of our intent… free will, and intent


It is this uniqueness for which we will be accountable before Him on the Day of Judgment.  Nothing else will matter on that day as we had nothing to do with it.


We don’t choose our parents; we don’t choose when we are born or when to die

We don’t choose to be tall or short and we don’t choose the color of our skin.


None of that will matter on the Day of Judgment, Only the things that we used our free will to intend.

We chose to choose, we chose to will, we chose to intend. And that is what we will be judged for … That is what we will be accountable for before our Creator.


In Islam, Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, tells us (tom):

“Actions are but by intention and every person shall have but that which he/she intended.”

He also said (tom):

"Verily Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your hearts and to your deeds."

It is what we intend and exert ourselves to achieve that counts…


Appreciating this perspective, I can’t understand it when a person takes pride in his/her ancestry… I say what credit does he/she have in that…? I can’t understand when he/she takes prides in the color of  their skin… or the country they were born in…  I am sure you can all think of an extended list of false prides that we humans often cling to and wrongly cherish.


Yes, we Mankind were created from a single pair of a male and a female and were made into nations and tribes so that we may know each other, not that we may despise each other.




Yes, the most honored of us in the sight of our Creator is he/she who is the most righteous.  Those who are able to control the temptations within and direct their free will for the good and have righteous intents…  Only the creator can judge that and none of us is in a position to assess.




Respected party:

Let me make a quick flash back to the words of two great leaders of the civil rights movements in the United States and the world:  Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King… 


After the reverse discrimination that Malcolm X practiced for years as a leader of the Nation of Islam, his life was completely changed after his pilgrimage to Makkah in 1964.  In his letter to his assistants during that pilgrimage, he wrote: “Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient holy land, “  and at the conclusion of his letter he confesses: “You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions.”

And from Malcolm X to Dr. King… In his famous “I have a dream” speech, I quote:

“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” and he continues “I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.  I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."


Dr. King went on and on with further details of his dream…, and Today, I add mine…

I dream of an earth with no walls or gates, with no passports or visas, with no boundaries or armies.

I dream of the day that we stop using racial references like white, African American or Hispanic…

I dream of the day that we would dissolve civil rights organization, charitable organizations, humanitarian organizations, and the likes… and find no need for their existence…

That is my dream.


I close with the Islamic greeting of peace: Assalamu Alaykum.