A prominent Indian-American Muslim organisation in Houston is actively backing the “Howdy, Modi!” event to be held here on September 22 to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The Indian American Muslim Association of greater Houston (IMAGH) is one of the major Welcome Partners for the community reception in honour of Prime Minister Modi.
“We may disagree with each others beliefs, practices or ideas, but unless we interact with them in a cordial and friendly atmosphere, we cannot get our point of view across to them,” said Dr Maqbool Haq, Chairman of the IMAGH Board of Directors.
“Growing up in Varanasi—Modiji’s Constituency, I always felt I had the same opportunities as everyone else. I am very proud to be both an Indian and a Muslim. So when the duly elected leader of Mother India is visiting my adopted home town, it is my duty to give him a warm welcome.” Latafath Hussain, founding president IMAGH, said.
The IMAGH’s mission, since its inception, has been to foster unity across cultures, communities and religions. The close cooperation between the Hindu and Muslim organisations in Houston dates back to September 2010 when the India Culture Center, an umbrella organization of various Indian groups, decided to host an Eid Milan party in collaboration with the Indian Muslim groups. The joint event was an instant success and led to the creation of IMAGH to foster amity across cultures, communities, and religions.
Bhutada, a Houston-based industrialist, a staunch supporter of many Hindu causes, advisor to the Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) and national Vice President of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), USA, commended IMAGH on their mission of fostering amity across cultures, communities and religions.
“We all have historical baggage let’s acknowledge that, but we cannot look backwards. We have to look forward and that is the only way we can lead a peaceful life in this world,” Bhutada said.
“We, in Houston, are proud to have a united happy community that respects interfaith customs and traditions by participating and celebrating Diwali, Holi, Eid, Christmas and Baisakhi,” Raj Bhalla, who was the Event Chair of the Eid Milan party in 2010, said.
Hussain said that “In the community, there are, as there should be, political differences, but that’s for private debate. In front of the larger Houston and American community, we have to stand as one,” he said.
Dr Anupam Ray, the Consul General of India in Houston also helped in promoting cooperation by hosting an Iftar party during Ramadan, for the past four years, where people professing different faiths and nationalities were invited to break the fast with Muslims at the end of the day.
“Although these efforts may seem feeble at first, the Houston community is showing its determination to move forward as one,” consulate sources said.
Vijay Pallod, who is on the boards of IMAGH and Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH), says that both the organisations are unique in their role to carry out their missions with respect and understanding for each other.