Red Ribbon Week, Husain Day, Acknowledged By Township Council

Dr. Aftab Husain speaks at the Oct. 24 Township Council while members of Masjid-e-Ali Mosque and township officials look on.

Proclamations acknowledging Red Ribbon Week and Husain Day were presented at the Oct. 24 Township Council meeting.

Oct. 23-31 was proclaimed Red Ribbon Week at the request of Alice Osipowitz, the township’s recreation director and head of the Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse.

Red Ribbon Week is a national campaign to raise awareness of teen substance abuse.

Osipowitz thanked the alliance members and school district staff who, she said, “really go above and beyond during this special week in their efforts to educate young people and help create community awareness regarding the negative affects of substance abuse.”

“While we believe that the majority of young people do not engage in the abuse of illegal substances and they abide by underage drinking laws, there are still far too many people that fight addiction everyday,” she said. “While the state and the nation are facing a heroin epidemic, it’s important to remember that most heroin addicts did not start as heroin addicts they started with gateway drugs. We want to remind parents that they play a major role in their childern’s choices about tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, and that most teenagers appreciate when their parents set boundaries and fairly enforce expectations.”

“Because alcohol is available, affordable, attractive and in too many cases is acceptable, it leads to too many senseless tragedies, and unfortunately alcohol is typically the first substance of abuse by the teenage population,” Osipowitz said. “The alliance wants to encourage everyone to be part of the majority and to send a unified message through the support of the ‘Parents Who Host Lose The Most’ campaign, and the ‘Live Above the Influence’ campaign, and through that, that underage drinking and substance abuse are not acceptable.”

The council also recognized Husain Day, one of the most sacred days in the Shia Muslim calendar.

Muslims reflect on the life and death of Husain Ibn Ai and about 70 of his followers and family by forces sent by Yazid I, after Husain refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid.

Known as Imam Husain, he is considered by Shia Muslims to the fourth of 12 Imams, or leaders.

The council and mayor “urge all the residents in the Township to attend future annual Husain Day events to reflect and act upon his message for social, racial and economic justice and promote unity and peace,” according to te proclamation.

Locally, members of Masjid-e-Ali Mosque on Cedar Grove Lane held their annual Husain Day observance on Oct. 21.

The mosque’s Dr. Aftab Husain thanked the council for the proclamation.

“Even though these incidents took place 1,400 years ago, when the grandson of the prophet Mohammed was martyred, his family was butchered and he gave everything to preserve the message of all the prophets, starting from Adam to Mohammed, his message is still not for one community, but it is for the entire humanity, to rise against oppression or any kind of injustice and that’s why we every year remember his message and try to reach out to other communities with this message because it is very much needed,” he said. “If his message is practiced, there’s going to be a lot of peace, a lot of good things in the world, which we need today.”

Mayor Phil Kramer said that his life was “enriched” two years ago when he first learned about Imam Husain.

Kramer said everyone should “Google Imam Husain and what happened there. It is the story of the Alamo, it is the story of the Maccabees, it is the story of The 300 (referring to a battle between Spartans and Persians in 480 B.C.), it is an amazing story of heroism and dedication and it is inspiring.”

“I think of it from time to time when I need inspiration,” he said. “It is a true story worth reading.”

“The diversity of Franklin lets us learn about things we would not have known before had we not had this diversity,” Kramer said.


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