By Adam Rizvi, Edison, New Jersey July 14, 2018, TIO: It was a different kind of a party, it was in full swing. There was no alcohol flowing, no music pumping, everybody in this very literary crowd was sober and law-abiding. This was not just any party – it was the Eid Dinner & Awards Gala. Eid al Fitr, which is celebrated by Muslims all over the world, after they fasted during the entire month of Ramazan.
For the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association (NJMLA), it was a different kind of event – an Awards Gala at the prestigious Mirage Banquet Hall in the heart of Edison on a large scale with judges, lawyers, politicians, physicians, businessmen and women, children, and multiple rising stars turning up in large numbers at the event.
At the event, the NJMLA presented awards to distinguished candidates for their achievements, to welcome the new Officers and say goodbye to the outgoing members of the Board. The media was in attendance to record this event, including the mainstream TV news channel.
Delivering the Keynote address, the Landmark Award recipient was Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Governor Murphy’s Cabinet Health Commissioner and the first known Muslim in the Cabinet in New Jersey’s 242-year history.
For their work on the Bayonne Mosque case, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler received the Religious Liberty Award. Last year they also were awarded by NJMLA, among many other organizations, for their historic settlement in the ISBR Mosque discrimination case filed in the United States District Court, District of New Jersey.
The Outstanding Scholar Award was earned by Abed A. Awad, ESQ., a partner at Awad & Khoury.
NJMLA bestowed the Social Justice Award to the Center for Constitutional Rights, Muslim Advocates, and the law firm Gibbons P.C. for their work on the NYPD spying case in New Jersey.
Hon. Hany A. Mawla, J.A.D., (the first Arab-American Muslim judge), swore in the new board of NJMLA. Ehsan F. Chowdhry, ESQ. is seen holding the Constitution and the historic Quran. Ehsan F. Chowdhry, Esq. re-elected President for a 3rd term
The new board of NJMLA was also announced and sworn in by the state’s highest-ranking Muslim judge, the Honorable Hany A. Mawla, J.A.D. (New Jersey Superior Court. President, Ehsan F. Chowdhry, ESQ. arranged it, with the help of Judge Mawla and Abed A. Awad, ESQ., so that the Officers would be sworn in on the United States Constitution, the New Jersey Constitution of 1947 and a few hundred-year-old Quran.
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A highlight of the evening was when President Ehsan F. Chowdhry, ESQ. asked the entire crowd to stand and follow along with him as he saluted the United States flag with a recitation of the pledge of allegiance to show all present that Muslims love this country and are an integral part of the fabric of this society.
A supplication was presented by Imam Hamed A. Chebli of the Islamic Society of Central Jersey (ISCJ) Masjid. Under President Obama, Imam Chebli was invited to the White House in November 2014 and led the remarks at the function with an opening Islamic prayer.
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The new Board Officers are as follows: President, Ehsan F. Chowdhry, ESQ., E F CHOWDHRY LAW PRACTICE, LLC,
1st Vice President, Rabiya S. Kader, ESQ., Sanofi.
2ND Vice President, Nadia S. Bandukda, ESQ., Johnson & Johnson,
Director of Policy and Legislative Outreach, Birjees “Jay” Rehman, ESQ.,
the staff attorney for the Council of American Islamic Relations of New Jersey (CAIR-NJ),
Secretary, Adil S. Ahmed, ESQ., Lowenstein Sandler,
Treasurer, Zafar Jaferi, J.D., Social Media Chair,
Faudia A. Hameed Clemenza, ESQ., Law Office of Faudia A. Hameed Clemenza, LLC,
Law Student Liaison, Chundzom M. Lopez, J.D. Candidate. He also thanked outgoing Officers Ma’isha L. Aziz, ESQ. (1ST Vice President),
Lubna Qazi-Chowdhry, ESQ. (2ND Vice President) and Bisma Muhammed, ESQ. (Law Student Liaison).
The NJMLA was founded in 2006 and is one of twelve (12) diversity bar organizations recognized by the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA), the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) by giving its designees on various New Jersey Supreme Court Committees and the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in Law since 2015.