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Dr. Maher Hathout, American Muslim interfaith pioneer, passes away
Sunday January 4, 2015 7:48 PM, IINA

American Muslim leader and interfaith pioneer Dr Maher Hathout passed away on Saturday at the age of 79, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has announced.

Hathout, died of cancer at City of Hope hospital in Duarte in southern California, said Salam Al-Marayati, president of MPAC.

After moving to Los Angeles in the late 1970s, Dr. Maher Hathout became a leading advocate for peace between Islam and other religions.

For more than three decades, Hathout was a volunteer at the Islamic Center of Southern California as Chairman and Spokesperson and helped found its youth movement. He helped co-found the MPAC in 1988.

Countering the naysayers were equally ardent supporters, including Jewish and Christian leaders who told the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission that Hathout's interfaith leadership and his promotion of a moderate Islam made him perfect for the honor.

"Dr. Maher Hathout was a leader for Islam and for humanity, a voice for the voiceless, a patriot, a poet, a physician. He made an indelible impression on everyone he met," MPAC said in a statement.

Dr Hathout was born in Cairo, Egypt on January 1,1936, and later on he moved to Buffalo New York, after finishing medical school and then to Los Angeles. He is the first Muslim to give the invocation prayer at a national political convention, when he blessed the Democratic convention in 2000 in Los Angeles.

He was the recipient of many awards, including the George Regas Courageous Peacemaker Award, the Lifetime Service Award form the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, the South Coast Interfaith Council Award for his lifelong commitment to interfaith work, and Los Angeles County's John Allen Buggs Award for excellence in human relations, Los Angeles Times reported.

"Dr. Hathout believed that American Muslims would contribute to America by practicing the Islamic values of mercy, equity and justice," MPAC statement said.


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