Announcing Our Peacemakers of the Year

Peace Center Names Malik and Annette Khan Peacemaker of the Year

May 10, 2017

 

Richmond, VA—Richmond Peace Education Center is pleased to announce the 2017 Peacemakers of the Year, Malik and Annette Khan. 

Malik and Annette Khan have been an integral part of the Richmond interfaith community for almost 30 years. They have worked tirelessly to build bridges of understanding between people of different faiths through friendly and warm dialogue about common interests, values, and ways of living together. The inter-group connections they have nurtured over the years have benefited several generations of Richmond Muslims, and enriched the life of the broader Richmond community.

The Khans have participated in many Richmond non-profit organizations that promote peace and social justice, including the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond, Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Communities, and the Richmond Peace Education Center. They continue to play a key role in actively engaging the Richmond Muslim community, especially young people, in the annual RVA Peace Festival.

Through their youth group initiative, which began more than 30 years ago, they helped generations of Muslim youth become involved in seeking friendship and peaceful dialogue with persons of different religious beliefs. This has been particularly important as political rhetoric since 9/11 has come to wrongly stereotype Muslims as people committed to violence.

As Richmond lawyer and VCU doctoral candidate Mona Siddiqui says in her nomination letter, the Khans’ quiet humility and compassion in spreading the message of peace shows in the way they live their own lives. Never seeking attention for the work they do, but steadfastly doing the right thing, she believes “their quiet interfaith work over the years has influenced how people of other faiths in central Virginia perceive Islam and its followers.”

Siddiqui says the Khans have influenced an entire generation of Muslim youth to look through the lens of peace and understanding in approaching relationships. Both Siddiqui and her children have participated in their youth group initiatives, which began in the 1980s. That experience shaped their family’s desire to actively participate in peaceful interfaith dialogue.

In the days following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Khans reached out to news outlets, churches, synagogues, and local organizations to reaffirm the message that the faith that the overwhelming majority of Muslims practice is one of peace. While many other Muslims were still trying to make sense of the news, they were out in the field educating the larger community, in an effort to stop the wildfire of negativity and surge of hate crimes against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslims.

Thanks to Annette’s prodigious efforts, the RVA Peace Festival–initially planned as a positive response to the September 11 attacks–has grown to become an annual feature of Richmond’s cultural calendar.

Both Malik and Annette have served on the Peace Center Board of Directors, and volunteered with various projects and events. Malik is retired from a career in engineering and remains active in social initiatives. Annette works at Al-Madina School, providing administrative support in addition to teaching computer skills to the students. The school is the product of the recent merger of two local Muslim schools.

RPEC and its many members and supporters congratulate the Khans and thank them for their service to the Richmond community.

The Peace Center will present the Khans with the Peacemaker of the Year Award at its Member Dinner, which will be an Iftar Dinner breaking the Ramadan fast after sunset, on June 14. More details here .

For more information contact:

Adria Scharf

Director

Richmond Peace Education Center

scharf@rpec.org

804 232-1002 office