Monday, March 12, 2018



Local Muslim community, human rights organizations stand united

The event drew a diverse crowd

FISHKILL – The third annual “All for One and One for All-United We Stand, Divided We Fall” interfaith event took place at the Fishkill Recreation Center on Sunday, and the message of unity in the face of divisive political times was heard loud and clear.

Attendees were excited to be a part of this event and hoped it would stir a larger conversation on acceptance of the Muslim community in the U.S. overall.

“The perception of Muslims living in the United States after 9/11 has been very negative,” said Shafi Ahmed. “These programs bring people together and also will hopefully change the perspective on Muslims in the West.”

Retired Navy seaman Daniel Oberhauser visited Pakistan as part of his duties, and said that his experience there is the reason why he decided to attend.

“I know that there are good humans in that area and I just came to give them support,” Oberhauser said.

Simala Qamar, a mom of two and IBM employee, was the emcee, and she touted how Muslim people are caring citizens of the United States and should be treated as such.

“I am a believer in Islam, but I am also a believer in the United States Constitution,” Qamar said. “In other words, I am a faithful Muslim and loyal American. By the way, those two are not mutually exclusive.”

Rizvi: "... a movement of peace and human tolerance"

The event’s organizer was Dr. Seema Rizvi, a family medicine doctor with her own practice in Fishkill. She referenced current events, namely the Parkland school shooting, while describing the Sunday event’s message.

“As a physician, I feel strongly about the issue of human suffering,” Rizvi said. “This platform is a movement of peace and human tolerance. The mark of any civilized society is how people are treated.”

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro addressed the gathering.

“Last year we came together during a time of heightened anxiety,” Molinaro said. “Now, I don’t know if that anxiety level has diminished all that much, but in Dutchess County, what we have been committed to is having the conversation.”

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18) was also a second-time attendee, and he echoed Molinaro’s sentiment of creating a conversation.

“We are so good at talking to people that already agree with us that we forget sometime to talk to those that don’t,” Maloney said. “We need to approach our politics like Thanksgiving dinner more.”

The event was organized by the Mid-Hudson Islamic Association, along with the Dutchess Human Rights Commission, Mid Hudson Refugee Organization, Dutchess County Interfaith Council and other individuals and organizations committed to promoting inclusivity in the United States.



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