12 Nov Aneelah among Most Influential Seattleites & FAN’s Interfaith Leadership Award
Assalamu Alaykum / Peace be upon you all
Dear MAPS Community,
By the grace of the The Most Gracious, we have been blessed with not one but two recognitions that clearly demonstrate our community’s positive contributions to the greater Seattle area: first, Aneelah Afzali, Executive Director of MAPS-AMEN has been named among the Most Influential Seattleites of 2017 by Seattle Magazine and second the Faith Action Network (FAN) has awarded MAPS this year’s Interfaith Leadership Award!
Both these awards are a testament to Aneelah’s truly magnificent work as the Executive Director of MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Network). MAPS Vision is “to inspire and foster a community that impacts the quality of life and spirituality for the individual, family and society guided by teachings of Quran and Sunnah.” Over the course of a year and through countless interactions with various groups all over the state, Aneelah is realizing this vision by changing the narrative about Muslims and by reaffirming the noble values of justice, inclusion, diversity and respect for all upon which our state was founded. Allah, The Just, ties these values with religious piety (taqwa) in the Qur’an:
“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” [Qur’an 5:8]
Aneelah being chosen as a Most Influential Seattleite is a remarkable achievement for our Executive Director personally and a matter of great pride for MAPS and our community. Seattle Mag explains the selection process for this recognition as follows:
“Our Most Influential People of 2017 inspire us with their positive leadership and solution-oriented efforts to solve some of our city’s most daunting challenges.
This year-when our nation is more divided than ever-we’ve sought out people who are using their influence to affect positive change, working to bring together diverse groups, reaching out to help underserved populations and seeking to empower citizens. We hesitate to call them do-gooders-with that phrase’s Pollyanish overtones-but they are collectively doing good for Seattle and our region. link here
The Faith Action Network (FAN) is a statewide interfaith advocacy 501(c)(3) non-profit organization through which thousands of people and over 130 faith communities across Washington State partner for the common good. FAN serves as a powerful voice of the faithful building a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. In 2016, MAPS joined FAN as an Advocating Faith Community and Aneelah joined FAN’s Governing Board. In awarding MAPS the Interfaith Leadership Award, FAN’s Co-Directors stated:
“Your leadership in our region is an inspiration to us, and in this most difficult year, your presence and outreach in the greater community has been incredible: welcoming people of all faiths, using moments such as your sign desecration as opportunities to build understanding, and convening meetings with elected officials and our Interfaith Leadership Council at MAPS. Launching MAPS-AMEN with Aneelah’s wonderful leadership has made such a difference too, and we are grateful for her presence on our board. We continue to look to all of you for guidance and partnership as we respond to Islamophobia around us. Joining FAN as an Advocating Faith Community was an incredible boost of support for us this year!”
MAPS will be honored with this award on Sunday, November 19 at the FAN Annual Dinner.
I want to emphasize how these two awards recognize good being done in our broader society. As I explained recently, the essence of our faith is to “enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil” (al ʿamr bi-l maruf wa-n nahy ʿan al munkar). The work of MAPS-AMEN and of the several other subcommittees at MAPS brings this essence of faith to life.
Please join me in congratulating Aneelah and the whole staff at MAPS for these awards. I encourage all of you to join one of the many subcommittees at MAPS that are working hard to positively impact our society. Together, and by the grace of Allah, we are forging a wonderful future for our community and our city towards a more just and equitable society.