The Office of the Chaplain United States House of Representatives

Imam Hassan Qazwini

Leader, The Islamic Center of America
Detroit, MI

Sponsor: Rep. Hon. John Dingell, (D-MI)
Date of Prayer: 10/01/2003

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend the greetings of the House of Representatives to my constituent and friend, the Imam Hassan Al–Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America of Dearborn, Michigan, as our guest chaplain.

Imam Qazwini's life is a testament to the greatness of our Nation and its devotion to freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and universal liberty. His life story is remarkable and moving, and his dedication to his adoptive homeland should make us all proud.

Imam Qazwini was born to a prominent religious family in Karbala, Iraq, and became a student at the Islamic Seminary in Qum, Iran. His family in Iraq were Shiites, and actively opposed the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. For their courage they were persecuted. Fourteen of his relatives were either executed or imprisoned by the Ba'athists.

Imam Qazwini has become a leading voice for Muslims in America. He has spoken movingly of the need for reconciliation, for tolerance, and for the recognition of our shared humanity. He has worked with leaders in both the Christian and the Jewish communities to help bridge the differences between us and to dispel prejudice. His work has touched Muslim and non–Muslim alike, and his devotion to our State and our community of Dearborn has been recognized by the mayor, the governor, and by President Bush.

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, Imam Qazwini's life is a statement on the greatness of our Nation. In only a few years, he has become a leader in our Nation's religious life, and he has met twice with President Bush.
I am proud that he is here today and was able to give this body a moving start to our day.

Imam , you have been most welcome here today and we are honored that you are with us.

(Mr. CONYERS asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. CONYERS. To my colleagues this morning, I am very delighted to entertain Imam Hassan Qazwini and seven other members from the Muslim community in Detroit and Dearborn, Michigan. He and I are very good friends and I am honored that the Islamic Center of America is located in my congressional district. I am also proud of the fact that they are building what might likely be the largest religious center for Muslims in the United States, which will be in Dearborn, Michigan, which my colleague and the dean of the House, Mr. Dingell, and I both represent.

The important point I would leave with you in extending my welcome is that Imam Qazwini has worked tirelessly with those of us Christians, Muslims and Jews to continue a dialogue that has taken place more than a dozen times in Detroit and in the District of Columbia with the help of my former staffer, Ms. Alexia Smokler, and my current general counsel of the Committee on the Judiciary, Burt Wides. We have worked together with Congressman Dingell to continue the discussion that is so necessary for us to come together, understand each other's cultures and also be amazed at the similarities of concerns that we raise.

It is in that spirit that I too join in the welcome to the House of Representatives on this day to Imam Qazwini.

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

Respected Congressmen and Women, I would like to greet you with the greeting of Islam. Peace be with you in the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Glory be to Allah, the Lord of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. As we commence our legislative day in this 108th Congress, we ask You to bestow Your blessing upon us and help our legislators enact that which pleases You and ensures the interest of our people. Lend Your infinite wisdom to this Congress and allow them to embrace what is right, not what is popular.

As our Nation faces many challenges, we beseech Your guidance. And as we pursue those who intend harm to our country, let us seek justice rather than revenge. Guide our leaders to use the influence of their power as an instrument for the betterment of all humankind and peace throughout the world.

Oh, Allah, endow the people of this great land with a growing trust in one another and an increasing faith in You. Help us all uphold our God–given rights of freedom and equality. Allow us never to evoke Your law by embracing color or creed as tools for superiority. As You say in the Holy Koran, ‘‘Oh people, We had created you from one male and one female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Verily, the best amongst you are those who are the most pious.''


To learn more about Members who have sponsored a Guest Chaplain, please visit the Congressional Biographical Directory