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Muslim Public Affairs Council Honored by FBI

By Kenny Macdonald

Buffalo, NY – The Muslim Public Affairs Council was honored Tuesday during a ceremony at FBI Headquarters downtown.

Special Agent in Charge Laurie Bennett presented the FBI Director's Community Leadership Award for 2006 to the council's president, Dr. Khalid Qazi, for the group's continued open communication between the area American-Muslim population and the agency.

Qazi said the award shows how government agencies have come to recognize the importance of the Muslim community's role in securing the nation without compromising basic freedom.

"How do we secure America without trampling on civil rights? That's the crucial issue America is facing," said Qazi. "I think American Muslim freedoms will become the test of America as it was at one time for African-Americans. So, I think the test will be how do we secure America without compromising our basic freedoms."

The Muslim Public Affairs Council cooperated with the agency during the 2002 investigation that led to the arrest and convictions of the Lackawanna Six.

The Community Leadership Award has been given annually since 1990 to recognize individuals or organizations actively fighting the problems of terrorism, crime and violence.