By Na’imah ‘Ubaydah-Saleem
As folks arrived at Al-Nur Cultural Center in Greenville, NC; they quickly enjoyed over 80 acres of beautiful scenery, gardens and the utter beauty of bountiful farmland stretching as far as the eyes could see. Alhamdulillah for such a beautiful creation! Dedicated supporters represented cities from all across North Carolina with representatives from Tennessee and Mississippi added to the mix. Al-Nur Cultural Center (Al- Nur) and Clara Mohammed Schools’ Educational Fund (CMSEF) for North Carolina hosted and celebrated its “30 Years of Giving Scholarships Weekend.” The weekend began with Salat-ul Jumuah with Imam Adam Beyah as khateeb followed by a tasty southern spread of fine food and socializing. Saturday included a down home fish fry, giving the scholarships to the winning graduates and a cultural night. The finale was on Sunday with breakfast and activities, another fish fry, and a taleem. Vendors offered their wares throughout Saturday and Sunday. All the weekend activities were incorporated around the theme: “Investing in Humanity for the Greater Good of Family and Community Life.” HUMANITY was broken down to mean “Help Uplift Mankind Always Nurturing and Inspiring The Youth.”
The Giving Scholarships Recognition began with opening prayer by Baaree Saleem and a welcome by Huetta Mateen Abdullah, followed by an inspiring throwback speech by guest speaker and 1990 CMSEF recipient, Dr. Qadriyyah J. Debnam of Tennessee & Mississippi. Keynote speaker Imam Adam Beyah from Fayetteville NC (Treasurer of the Imams Consultative Body of NC), spoke on money matters and securing the future of our families and communities. Zenobia Rahman compiled and presented a slide presentation of graduates from 1985- 2014. Former CMSEF recipients Seidah Congleton, a sophomore at NCSU, and Faatimah Shabazz, a recent graduate of Fayetteville State University, shared words of wisdom from their experiences as both a first-year college student and as a college graduate, respectively.
Doretha Hamidullah introduced the Class of 2015 which included 14 graduates from across the state. Malik Ali Xavier Norwood, son of Imam Maximillian and Najla Norwood, from Greensboro, NC, graduated from The Academy at Smith and received additional education at Guilford Technical Community College in the Fall 2014. Malik delivered a short essay describing how he intends to give back to the community, saying “Recently, I have been helping the community by teaching Special Olympic swimmers how to swim and will continue helping the community through life guarding.” He also stated that “There are many youths that haven’t learned how to swim, especially those living in poverty. Hopefully, I will be able to teach this skill globally when I participate in study abroad programs in college.” He then discussed his exposure to charity work with the homeless while studying in Greensboro.
Abdul Haneef Abdullah, son of Michael Bell and Saleemah Abdullah, graduated from Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School, Raleigh, NC. His future goals are to attend Wake Technical Community College for business or dental assistant and to assist his mother in the nonprofit that she founded.
Other high school graduates included Yasmin Davis Butts (Charlotte), Yusef El-Amin (Charlotte), Anissah Faheemud-Deen (Raleigh), Malik Hester (Durham), Kamea Lee (Charlotte), Saheed Lucas (Raleigh), Alexandria Marrow (Durham), Ali Morgan (Raleigh), Khadijah Muhammad (Raleigh), Sabir Muhammad (Raleigh), Amir Omar Shomari and Shakir Omari Shomari (Jacksonville). College graduates who were honored included Jalil Corder, graduate of North Carolina Central University and Ngamet Keita from The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham.
In addition to scholarships, graduating high school seniors received gift bags which included The Noble Qur’an, college planner, 50 Things I Wished I Had Known before Going to College, an alarm clock, CMSEF signature pens, and a complimentary dinner.
Following the presentation of scholarships and awards, a speech was given by Noria Namaz entitled “Words of Encouragement for Planning Your Future,” Special Awards were distributed to Muslim Scholarship Association Donors, and Imam Charles Abdullah made Closing Remarks and Prayer. He ended his remarks with this quote from President Barack Obama, “Change will not come if we wait for some other Thanking Allah for 30 Years of Scholarships Na’imah ‘Ubaydah-Saleem Keynote speaker Imam Adam Beyah with his wife Binah (right) and Guest Speaker Dr. Qadriyyah Debnam (left). Right to Left: Malik Norwood, Abdul Haneef Abdullah, Seidah Congleton (2014 scholarship recipient), Faatimah Shabazz To advertise call (704) 597-5424 7 person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
The Evening Cultural Night event was coordinated and introduced by Jean Rahman and Huetta M. Abdullah, along with Camp Humanity’s students of Al-Nur Cultural Center as stars for the night. They collectively produced a grand finale that left the audience wishing for more. The students brought their best in spoken word pieces, creative poetry, singing, hiphop & freestyle dancing, saxophone music, ballerina dance, gymnastics, a recitation of Nelson Mandela’s speech, and a stunning duet. The evening ended with a spoken word presentation by Jean Rahman.
The next day started with a hearty and healthy Halal breakfast and then concluded with a Taleem service. Thus ended CMSEF’s and Al-Nur’s rewarding weekend of activities.
Alhamdulillah, over the last 30 years, CMSEF has been empowered to assist over 325 graduates with scholarships and insha’Allah, it will continue for many more years to come!
CMSEF would like to give special thanks to all of the generous donors who have made these scholarships possible.
Imam Abdul Rahman Shareef (Hattie Rhodes Baker), Baaree H. Saleem (Innovative Vision), Naomi Feaste (In Memory of Asim Muhammad and Simon & Viva Myers), Rasool Electrical & Construction (Engineering), Imam Kamal & Sakinah Abdal-Rafi, Na’imah ‘Ubaydah-Saleem (Gha-is Hasan Memorial), Abdus-Sabuur Saleem (Graphic Design), Al-Nur Cultural Center, Ar-Razzaq Islamic Center (Durham), As-Salaam Islamic Center (Raleigh), W. Deen Mohammed Islamic Center (Durham), Wilhelmina Abdul-Muhaimin, Charles F. Abdullah, Abdullahs Community Development, James & Janice Abdullah, Wadeeah Beyah, Rajeeyah Congleton-Rahman, Dr. Douglas & Gloria Diaab, Doretha Hamidullah, Freda Barton-Haleem, James Hanifa, Mujahid Hasan, Mateen Family, Naeem & Jean Abdul-Rahman, Ruth Mitchiner, Beatrice Muhammad, Baheejah Rasheed, Luqman II & Aqueelah Rasheed, Dr. Judy Rashid & Family, Wali A. & Yvonne Saleem, Imam Yusuf and Berlie Abdullah, Charlene Shabazz, Fareed A. Shakir, Aqila Sharif-Hanifa, Na’eem & Haneefah Syed, Masjid Al-Muminun (Winston-Salem), Masjid Ar-Razzaq (Charlotte), Masjid Ali Shah (Charlotte), New African Health & Books, The Um’rani Family Tree, National W. C. Chance/East End Alumni Association, Martin Co. F. S. Chapter, Professional Tax Services, Health Service Connect, Inc., Ben Jones Turkey Barbecue, Abdullah B. Rahman M M, Ladies of Royalty, Martin Co. Retired School Personnel, Halal and Tayyib Company, The Reaves Family, Mo Sales, Graphix by Saleem, Designer Business Station, Inc., American Gung-Fu Association, Binah’s Natural Hair Studio, Send Out Cards, Beyah’s Accounting & Tax Service, C and H Crafts & Novelties, Advance Mechanical, Cleaning Maid EZ, Mallcakes, Mackswarehouse, Al-Ummil Ummat Islamic Center (Greensboro).