By Sultan Jessa
ATLANTA – Georgia: Muslims have contributed to positive development of human civilization including medicine, surgery, science, art, culture, music, literature and much more, an Ismaili medical doctor told a conference.
“Muslims represent only one per cent of the total USA population but contributions we have made as citizens is unmatched,” emphasized Dr. Gulshan Harjee.
Originally from Moshi, Tanzania, Dr.Harjee was the key note speaker at the conference sponsored by the Independent Political Action Committee (IPAC) and attended by more than 400 people.
Among those in attendance were several Atlanta leaders including Pedro Marine, a Georgia Senator and the U.S. Senator Hank Johnson.
IPAC is a group of concerned Muslims who wish for eligible minority communities to register to vote.
It also does research on candidates to people can make their own decisions on who to vote for.
“The terroristic actions of an infinitely minuscule member of extremist individuals, claiming to speak for the faith and using such behavior as a pretext for creating anti-Muslim sentiments globally, has created many frightening situations for us and our children,” she said.
Of the total 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe, more than three million live in the United States and they represent the third largest faith after Christianity and Judaism.
Muslims in America, the speaker pointed out, are better educated as evidenced by the fact that almost 40 per cent hold college degrees compared to 29 per cent of Americans overall.
She said Muslims are approximately 10 per cent of the physicians in the USA and form the back bone of the medical and research system in the country.
“Additionally, almost 6,000 Muslims serve in the nation’s armed forces.”
Dr. Harjee said America is a great country and a land of opportunity.
“This is where you get rewarded for hard work, merit and for integrity,” she continued.
“Here is where your color, race, sexual orientation or religion is not supposed to matter.”
The speaker said they have all heard a great deal recently from aspiring politicians about Muslims.
“These are people who know very little about Islam and Muslims or the contributions Muslims have made to their adopted home to civilization,” Dr. Harjee said. “Since 9/11 Muslims have been subject of suspicion and extreme hate.”
The speaker said many Muslims are successful entrepreneurs, law abiding and taxpayers who also create jobs to boost the economy.
“Perhaps it is time to say enough is enough and to stand up and be counted,” Dr. Harjee said. “Muslims have been here for five centuries…we are just asking to be treated equal.”
The speaker concluded Muslims are patriotic citizens and they will continue to remain loyal to the United States.
Dr. Harjee is the president and chief executive officer of First Medical Care Inc.
She inspired to be a doctor when she was only six years old.
For political reasons, she was forced to relocate several times from her native Tanzania.
She was first forced to move to Pakistan at the age of 16 to continue her education and again to Iran to attend college and medical school and then once again to the United States after the Iranian revolution.
Dr. Harjee is the recipient of multiple humanitarian awards.
She has also established a scholarship program for high school students wanting to pursue careers in medicine.
Dr. Harjee, who has been in Atlanta for the past 37 years, is married to Zul Devji, an economist who was educated in Uganda and England.
Meanwhile, Dr. Harjee’s donation for water well in Pakistan has been recognized.
She made a sizeable donation for a well and a pump for the people of Thar in Pakistan for Dr. Shahida Khan’s son Hassan Khan.
“You have touched our hearts by dedicating this well to honor Hassan. I do not have words to express my gratitude and appreciation. God bless you,” wrote Dr. Khan.