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MSA Eid Dinner Panel on Faith & Practice

November 11, 2011


By Muslim Law Student Association

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

These were the three aspects addressed during the Eid Dinner Panel on Faith & Practice held by the Muslim Student Association on Friday, November 4, from 6-8 p.m., at TJSL. The guest speakers on the panel included Imam Wali T. Fardan from Masjidul Taqwa of San Diego, Edgar Hopida from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and H. Sammy Rihan, Esq. from Law Office of H. Sammy Rihan. Catering for dinner was provided by Aladdin Restaurant in San Diego.

Imam Wali T. Fardan began the panel discussion by addressing the Islamic way of ‘Life’. “Eid al-Adha is considered to be the greater of the two Eid’s”, explained Mr. Fardan. In contrast with Eid al-Fitr, which is celebrated after the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise until sunset, Eid al-Adha marks the end of the annual holy pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, known as Hajj. In comparison, Mr. Fardan mentioned how both Eids, through the process of fasting, contribute to many benefits for Muslims, including: spiritual purification, gratitude, humility, empathy, and self-discipline. In addition to fasting, prayer is another fundamental requirement for Muslims and thus, the attendees performed a prayer at the event.

Next, Edgar Hopida discussed Muslims’ right to ‘Liberty’. “Certain individuals have stated that Islam is not a religion, therefore, Muslims do not deserve the same First Amendment Rights as the rest of the Americans”, stated Mr. Hopida. However, equal rights are fundamental to each and every citizen, which is why Mr. Hopida has made it his personal mission to protect Muslim-Americans’ civil liberties by promoting justice through CAIR (Council on American-Islam Relations.) CAIR is America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, and has assisted many Muslim-Americans in their pursuit of justice. Volunteer opportunities are currently available for individuals in the legal field who are interested in civil rights and would like to be a part of CAIR’s mission.

Lastly, H. Sammy Rihan concluded the discussion by sharing the common ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ shared by many Muslim-Attorneys, such as himself. “At the end of the day, when I lay my head down to sleep, I can sleep well knowing that I have stayed true to my religion throughout my practice of law”, said Mr. Rihan. The students at the event were able to relate to Mr. Rihan as he shared his struggles as an Islamic-Attorney throughout his years in law school, as well as in his current practice of law. Islam has helped Mr. Rihan make the hard work involved in the profession feel less burdensome, and helped him stay away from the tempting short-cuts that many unfortunately fall for, especially in a state of greed.

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