Dr. Unus, who has been with IIIT since early 90’s, had served as president of ISNA’s predecessor, the M.S.A. of the United States and Canada, in 1975, as secretary general of ISNA during the 80’s, and on ISNA’s Majlis ash Shura in later years. The award recognized his continuous service to ISNA and the Muslim community from 1970 to now in various leadership and service positions. In his acceptance remarks, Dr. Unus noted that the future demanded continued service to “a rising generation of community leaders who exemplify the Prophetic saying … the leader of the people is their servant.” Last year, Dr. Unus had received the 2011 Lifetime Service Award from the Council of American Islamic Relations.
In previous years, ISNA has presented this award to Dr. Ahmad Totonji, Dr. Jamal Barzinji and Dr. Hisham Altalib from among IIIT’s leadership.They were recognized for their pioneering leadership and distinguished contribution to the growth of Muslim presence in North America. Thirteen Muslim American community leaders have received this annual award over the years.
The award was instituted by ISNA in memory of Dr. Mahboob Khan, a tireless community activist in the San Francisco area who had served MSA and ISNA in various leadership roles. He passed away suddenly at the height of his activism, engaged in a community wide effort to establish the Islamic Center of Bay Area in Northern California.
ISNA is the leading organization of Muslims in North America. Its three-day annual convention attracts about thirty thousand attendees from around the continent, and features a wide range of panelists and topics related to Islam and Muslim American community life.