Oregon Woman Honored with FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award
March 22, 2010 - Washington, D.C.—In a ceremony today at FBI Headquarters, Director Robert S. Mueller, III recognized the recipients of the 2009 Director’s Community Leadership Award. These leaders, selected by their area FBI field office, have demonstrated outstanding contributions to their local communities through service.
"Those honored here today represent people from different backgrounds and beliefs, from different corners of America, but share some things in common: a willingness to lead, a commitment to improving the lives of their neighbors, and a desire to make the nation safer for their fellow citizens,” said Director Mueller.
In Oregon, the FBI's Portland Division selected Josephina Salma Ahmad, a leader within the Oregon Muslim community, for her commitment to promoting peace and cooperation between people of all beliefs. Mrs. Ahmad is a native of the Philippines who moved to the United States in 1967 after graduating from nursing school. As a long-time resident of the Portland, Oregon, area, she has been very active in a number of organizations and programs designed to repair and strengthen relations among various ethnic, and social groups as well as with law enforcement. Her work has, through her long history of service, helped to provide stability, peace and understanding among different communities.
"Mrs. Ahmad is a dedicated civic leader who has demonstrated her selflessnes by ensuring meaningful dialogue and action in service to the community," said Arthur Balizan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.
Mrs. Ahmad has served as the President of the Islamic Society of Greater Portland since 2003, the oldest official Muslim organization in Oregon. She also serves as the Treasurer of the Institute of Islamic and Interfaith Studies, an organization founded to promote understanding and respect among all races, cultures and religions through education, research and service. In addition, she is a founding member of the Bilal Mosque Association; a member of the Washington County Human Rights Commission; a member of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon; a Member of the Interfaith Action Network of Washington County; a member of the Center for Intercultural Organizing; and an advisory board member for the Muslim Educational Trust. She speaks frequently to gatherings in Oregon and has traveled throughout the U.S. to promote interfaith understanding and harmony.
Click here to see a photo of Mrs. Ahmad receiving her award from Director Mueller.
“For the FBI to recognize a Muslim woman and an immigrant is indeed an honor. The extra effort made by the Bureau to reach out to all minority communities, such as the Muslim community, is very much appreciated and needed to dispel misplaced fear and mistrust," said Mrs. Ahmad. "What we do not know, we will fear, and the easiest way to feign fear is through dislike. By starting with the construction of this bridge of trust and with continuous dialogue, there will be a healthy interaction between the two parties. The FBI and the Muslim community will face challenges but with God's blessings and mercy, and with our good intentions to foster better relations, we will succeed."
"As American Muslims we have a moral obligation to uphold the safety and security of this country. I call on my Muslim brothers and sisters and do our best as individuals and citizens of any country as our faith has always taught us to do. I graciously receive this award and thank God for giving me this privilege to enjoy the freedom this nation is known for."