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Spirit of Abraham Awards

Spirit of Abraham Award

The Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno strives to promote and increase the understanding of Islam and Muslims and recognizes voices of courage that help the Center realize such a goal.

Each year, the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno presents the Spirit of Abraham Award to groups and/or individuals who significantly contribute towards enhancing the understanding of Islam and Muslims as well as creating more harmonious relationships between faiths. The awards gala is part of the “Night of Spirituality” that commemorates the commencement of the month of Ramadan during which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.

To nominate an individual or group, fill out the Nomination form and return to:

Spirit of Abraham Committee
2111 East Nees Ave
Fresno, CA 93720


Past Recipients of the Award:

A Forum for A Better Understanding / KNXT TV

A TV program produced by KNXT and the Catholic Diocese of Fresno, A Forum for A Better Understanding and was launched in 2002 based on a radio program holding the same title.  Since its inception, it has featured faith leaders from distinct religious traditions who have raised, discussed and reflected upon topics as timely and wide-ranging as interfaith dialogue, ecology, death, religious calling, materialism, racism, war and non-violence, immigration, terrorism and spirituality.





Fresno Police Chief, Jerry Dyer

Chief Dyer received the award for his contributions to enhancing the understanding of Islam and Muslims among police officers.  To achieve this goal, Chief Dyer has approved starting in January 2006 a weekly one-hour workshop, led by the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno that focused on positive interaction and partnership with the Muslim community.

The diversity program is a one-hour workshop titled, “Working with the American Muslim Community”.

This interactive workshop enabled officers to be ask questions about Islam and Muslims, address scenarios when dealing with Muslim immigrants or what to expect when visiting a Muslim home or an Islamic Center.

As a result of this program, several law enforcement agencies received the training. Among them are the local Fresno FBI office, members of Fresno US Attorney’s office and the team of McGregor Scott, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California based in Sacramento.

Faith & Values, a section of The Fresno Bee:

The Faith & Values section of The Fresno Bee was honored for its positive coverage of the diverse faiths and religions in Fresno and Central California.

Since its launching in the late 90’s, Faith & Values has covered the religious diversity of Fresno and the Central Valley. The Muslim community is proud of such coverage of Islam and urged The Fresno Bee to maintain its inclusiveness and its positive reporting about Islam & Muslims.


Japanese American Citizen’s League / JACL

The award honored the efforts of Japanese American Citizen’s League for preserving civil liberties and its unwavering support of the Muslim community since 9/11

The Japanese American Citizens League was among the first organizations to stand in solidarity with the Muslim and Arab communities. The Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno joined community commemoration of executive order 9066 that led to the internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry. During the commemoration, the JACL continued its legacy of protecting the civil liberties of American Muslims. The Honorable Judge, Dale Ikeda included Muslims and Arab Americans in his keynote speech. His message of solidarity was a courageous stand during difficult times when Muslim are stigmatized and their civil liberties are diminished.

Dr. Alfred Evans / CSU Fresno professor

Dr. Alfred Evans was honored for his valuable contributions towards the understanding of Islam and Muslims. The Islamic Center has participated in several interfaith projects that Dr Evans helped in establishing. Among such projects are The Interfaith Scholar Weekend, The National Day of Prayer, The CROP Hunger Walk, Muslim-Christian Dialogue and the Interfaith Alliance of Central California.



Dr Sudarshan Kapoor

Dr Kapoor was honored for promoting harmony among all faiths. The retired professor brings the community together to eliminate hate, promote non-violence and strengthen bonds between communities. He organizes the annual Stop the Hate program,the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Unity Walk and several interfaith programs.

The Late Dr. Khursheed Ali

Dr Ali was honored for tirelessly promoting the understanding of Islam. He is the founder of numerous Islamic organizations in Fresno such as Masjid Fresno, The Muslim Student Association at CSUFresno and the Muslim Society of Central California. Dr Ali is an active participant in interfaith dialogue and serves on the steering committee of the Multi-Faith Exchange.


Dr Kathie Ried / Professor, CSUFresno

Dr Ried was honored for her efforts to promoting the understanding of Islam among her students through learning firsthand form Muslim students and scholars.  Dr Ried encouraged her students to interact with Muslims which led to bringing better awareness of Islam.
The Marjoree Mason Center
Executive Director Pam Kallsen received the award for her efforts to promote harmony in the family by providing shelter to battered women, including Muslim women victims of domestic violence.  The Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno is in partnership with the Marjoree Mason Center and assists in referrals, cultural diversity and interpretations.


Dr Vida Samiian / Dean of the College of Humanities, CSUFresno

Dr Samiian received the award in celebration of her leadership in preserving the the Middle Eastern heritage and culture through the establishment of the Middle East Studies program, the Farsi Language Program, the annual Middle East Conference and the course on Islam, and various programs
that positively contributed to the understanding of Islam and Muslims. Under the leadership of Dr Samiian, the California State University, Fresno and the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno engaged in community partnership that enabled the Islamic Center to support the exchange of knowledge with the CSUFresno family.

Howard Watkins / Watkins’ Photography Archives

Mr. Howard Watkins’ Photography Archive featured the various community programs and events conducted at the Islamic Center and in the Fresno area.  Mr. Watkins was awarded for his leadership in positively contributing to the understanding of Islam and Muslims.





Congressman Jim Costa was recognized for his unwavering leadership in fostering understanding across cultures and for his many years of serving the Central Valley community. “We must, in a day and age where cynicism is sadly a part of our diet…to be critical, to be cynical and to be confrontational…that it is more important than ever before that as a people we look to those spiritual aspects in each and every one of us that bring out the best in us.” Congressman Jim Costa.



The Ethics Center at Fresno State received this award because of the various community programs and events it has held to fostered harmonious relationships between different ethnic, religious and cultural groups. Dr. Andrew Fiala, Director of the Ethics Center and members of the Board of Advisory received the award on behalf of their Center.



Rev. Natalie Chamberlain, for her unwavering leadership in fostering understanding across different ethnic, religious and cultural groupsnatalie_n

61tbuVWu+4L._SL500_AA300_ABC 30 News for objectively covering the news about Muslims in Fresno and the Central San Joaquin Valley.








FresnoState-seal_0    This year the SAA Committee has chosen Fresno State Henry Madden Library (HML) and the “7th grade teachers at Sierra Junior High” as the winners.  HML has done a tremendous job in familiarizing the campus community with the people, history, faith and cultures of Muslims through the “Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys”, the grant jointly received by ICCF & HML from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA).

ICCF Career Planning Mapping Your Future (1)Over the years, there have been 9 teachers from Sierra Junior High who have been part of the 7th grade team and involved with planning and/or organizing Cultural tours for the students where they visited ICC, Temple Beth Israel, and a Christian church (various ones over the years)




joseph-castroDr. Joseph Castro, President of California State University, Fresno,1378146_652334114788917_612471491_n

and Faith in Community were the SAA winners.

Dr. Joseph Castro was chosen for his unwavering leadership in promoting diversity across different ethnic, religious &

cultural groups on campus; that positively contributed to the understanding of Islam.

Faith in Community was chosen for their dedication in working for a better Fresno; raising the voices of various segments of our community, including that of Muslims.



Rev. Dr. Christopher Breedlove and KSEE/CBS47

Rev. Breedlove was chosen for his constant support and action with the Muslim community and ICCF.

KSEE/CBS47 was chosen for their fair and balanced coverage of our community, including the upwards of 35 stories with clips from ICCF just that year.  Also, their sweeps week piece was a piece highlighting the work of ICCF.




Rabbi Rick Winer and Ahwahnee Middle School.


Rabbi Rick Winer was chosen for his interfaith leadership and continual support of the Muslim community.

Ahwahnee Middle School was chosen for their leadership in the school district to engage and ease the transition of Syrian refugee students.




Cineculture and Joe Pulido.



Cineculture was chosen for its many years of educating the community about culture and religion through its weekly film series and panel discussions.

Joe Pulido was chosen for his unwavering friendship with ICCF.



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