ABDUL RAUF KHAN
PALM BEACH COUNTY REPRESENTATIVE
SOUTH FLORIDA MUSLIM FEDERATION
‘Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.’ – Muhammad Ali
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
In the name of Allah (SWT), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, I received a Master’s in Business Management from the prestigious University of Karachi before moving to Texas in 1994. Since 2005, I have been residing in Boca Raton, Florida with my wife and 3 beautiful children. While working minimum wage jobs for a few years, I was keen to enter the fascinating field of computers, so I studied computer systems and eventually got a job with the world’s leading company, Texas Instruments as a computer operator and went on to become a Computer Analyst. After the technology boom, I switched to retail at Walgreens. While working at Walgreens pharmacy, Inc., I became heavily involved and active with volunteering for ICNA Relief, the largest Muslim organization serving exclusively in the USA. After 10 years at Walgreens pharmacy, Inc., I left my job to pursue my passion for community service and started working for ICNA Relief USA full-time, in 2009. I started at ICNA Relief USA as a Director of Community Development and was put in charge of the expansion to South Florida. I was eventually put in charge of the entire southeast region and given the responsibility as the Assistant Director of Disaster Relief Services. In 2013, I was promoted to the position of Assistant Executive Director (AED), now called Chief Operating Officer (COO) which I currently holds.
What sort of community service work have you participated in/ undertaken? What inspired you the most and why do you think there is a need to give back to the community?
I feel the passion to serve others runs in my blood and my foremost inspiration came from my father. He inculcated in us the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) like: “The most beloved people to Allah (SWT) are those who bring the most benefits to humanity.” I also derived inspiration from my involvement and training in the youth groups, since the young age of 12 years. Our faith teaches us to give irrespective of religion, race, color, gender, age. Moreover, most of us chose to settle here in the USA for better earning and a comfortable healthy prosperous life. You hear lots of stories from the immigrants about “From rags to riches”, “Turning sweat into gold” and “Deriving opportunities out of challenges”; all made possible in this country, the country which we call “home”. This country and its people extended all their knowledge, shared all their resources, offered their neighborhoods, and opened up their hearts for the immigrants to learn, earn, live and thrive. Often to get married here too! These are enough reasons to give back to the community, neighborhood, and country.
My work with different community service organizations has helped me pursue my passion. I am serving or have served as board member for various national and local Islamic organizations, Islamic centers, and several Muslim community service organizations. I offered my services to the South Florida Muslim Federation (SFMF) many years ago, in the Social Services Committee. Presently I am SFMF Board member. In addition, I am:
- President of Islamic Center of Boca Raton, (ICBR)
- National Board member of Young Muslim- youth group of ICNA
- Board member of Garden of Sahaba Academy (GSA), Boca Raton
- Past Board member of Youth Coalition of South Florida (YCSF)
- President of ICNA South East Region
- National Shura member of ICNA
In addition, I am very passionate about empowering the youth and sharing with them my love, experience and knowledge of community service, especially encouraging and empowering young girls to enter the arena of community service and take leadership roles.
Below are some of the awards, certifications, participations throughout my career with ICNA Relief:
- Completed Interagency Logistics at the Emergency Management Institute by FEMA.
- Certified by the National Disaster Interfaith Network in chaplaincy for disaster spiritual care, field operations, disaster mental health, and self-care.
- Received CERT training from the Miami-Dade County and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.
- Completed requirements by the American Red Cross for “Fulling the Mission,” Mass Feeding, and Shelter Care.
- Received training at the Governor’s Hurricane Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
- Attended 2010 Texas Homeland Security Conference by the Emergency Management Association of Texas.
- Attended the “Professional Development Workshop for Educators” by the Prince Waleed Al-Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding of Georgetown University.
- Received awards by the Miami-Dade CORE, FHII, CAIR, Al-Hikmah and many Islamic centers for his support and dedication to community services.
- In 2016 received an award from the office of President Obama, at the White House, for outstanding community services.
Which aspect(s) of the local Muslim community do you feel has the maximum potential to grow and develop? How can SFMF help achieve it?
Every community has its own culture, dimensions, circumstances, demographics, diversities and social structures. We are very fortunate to have all the right ingredients and the right fabric. The SFMF is a beautifully and finely knit community, driven by passion and dedication to serve. There is always a room for improvement at the top. So, the potential to grow further lies in developing programs for:
- Educational services
- Youth development
- Women development
- Interfaith interaction
- Reverts’ (new Muslims) engagement and orientation
- Welfare and community services
- Inter-community and intra-communities’ cohesion
- Political engagement
How can a person who is not a federation member or part of any other organization, contribute to betterment of community?
Every community member should be encouraged to become an active part and participant of the community and its services. There should be a greater welcoming attitude attracting them into the fold of the community membership, so that their voice is heard, vote is counted and opinion matters.
I feel there should be a greater acceptance of the differing views and an open heart to criticism, that is taken as a basis for betterment and improvement of the community.
Sharing knowledge and experiences among other community members in practices of faith, education, careers, business and family lives is key to growth. Invite existing and prospective members to develop an attitude of service and giving. The best way is to volunteer time and services with established national organizations.