Published in the Queens Gazette
The Dawoodi Bohra community of New York hosted a Tree Planting event at its masjid complex on Springfield Boulevard, Queens, on Saturday, October 14. The event was held to mark the 80th birthday celebration of the community’s global leader, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, and as a tribute to his emphasis on environmental awareness and conservation.
VIP guests included New York State Senator Leroy Comrie, Reverend Bishop Tucker from One Way Church of Christ in Queens, and Officer Natisha Mitchell and Sergeant Rochener Gilot from NYPD’s 113th Precinct. The guests were invited to plant a tree dedicated to peace and harmony and to raise awareness of the importance of protecting the environment – two important messages regularly raised by His Holiness. Officers Mitchell and Sergeant Gilot joined the community in dedicating a special tree representing the community strength, unity, and diversity of Southern Queens.
Senator Leroy Comrie commented, “Thank you for the work you’re doing to promote harmony and peace in our world. I’ll always be supportive of your efforts to help the local community.”
Nearly 80 trees and bushes were planted in honor of His Holiness’ 80th birthday. Over the last year alone, Dawoodi Bohra communities throughout the world have held numerous environmental conservation projects as part of their global Project Rise initiative, which strives to raise standards of healthcare, nutrition, education, water and sanitation among vulnerable members of society, while protecting and enhancing the natural environment.
Taha Adib, a representative of the Dawoodi Bohra community in New York, said, “It’s exciting for our local community to contribute to these efforts and to have an opportunity to watch their dedicated tree grow alongside the masjid for many years to come.”
Prior to the event, Council Member Nantasha Williams presented the Dawoodi Bohras of New York with a special citation for their efforts in community service and philanthropy.
“It is a privilege for our collective efforts as a community to be recognized, and we hope to continue to come together and work for the upliftment of our neighbors and the environment,” Adib added.
Children from the community also participated in an environmentally friendly and educational activity of mixing organic clay with seeds that could be planted or tossed outside in nature to promote growth of more trees.
The Dawoodi Bohras of New York note that they have lived and worked peacefully in the area for decades. Over 150 families congregate at their masjid (mosque) and community center in Springfield Boulevard, in Queens. Many values at the core of the Bohra faith – including eradicating poverty and hunger, improving education, female empowerment, and preserving the natural environment – align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.