This is the fourth year that I have proudly introduced a resolution highlighting the achievements and many contributions the American Muslim community has made to California and the country,” explained Assemblymember Quirk. “My friends and neighbors continue to experience harassment on a daily basis for no other reason than being Muslim. This resolution is an opportunity to look beyond the hate, the negative headlines and the hurtful rhetoric.”
In conjunction with the floor ceremony held on Monday, August 12, Assemblymember Quirk was joined by his honoree for American Muslim Awareness and Appreciation Month, Mokhtar Alkhanshali, Founder and CEO of Port of Mokha, a company focused on importing and selling coffee from Yemen. Mokhtar is credited with reversing Yemen’s lost art of coffee cultivation.
In 2013 Mokhtar departed the United States for Yemen and spent three years travelling the country learning about coffee. War broke out on the day he was scheduled to leave Yemen. His harrowing escape from Yemen with his first coffee samples is the centerpiece of the novel, The Monk of Mokha.
The floor presentation was preceded by a small reception that brought together leaders from the American Muslim community and highlighted the amazing work Mokhtar is doing.
“As a Yemeni whose roots lay deep in California, from the farmlands in the Central Valley where Yemenis have served California and fought for worker’s rights alongside heroes like Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, to our deep and rich history in San Francisco as small business owners, it truly is a great honor for me to be recognized by this state that has given me, my family and my people so much,” said Mokhtar. “In a time when Muslims’ Americanness is under constant scrutiny all over our country, it’s a great respite to see that, at least in one state, we’re being recognized for what we are; proud, enthusiastic Americans who have given this country more than most can begin to imagine."
“It is truly an honor to have been able to recognize Mokhtar on the Assembly floor today in conjunction with the presentation of HR 48. This resolution is not just about raising awareness of the influence the American Muslim community has had in our state and across the nation. It is a reflection of California’s history of standing in solidarity with our American Muslim community. In authoring this resolution, we make it clear that hate and intolerance has no place in California,” concluded Assemblymember Quirk.
In 2016 Assemblymember Quirk became the first legislator to introduce a resolution to designate a month in honor of American Muslims.