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Fundraiser benefits global medical relief

KNOXVILLE – The Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) held “An Evening with Champions,” a benefit dinner on November 3 featuring groundbreaking American Muslim athletes. Proceeds from the event will benefit IMANA, a nonprofit healthcare organization based in Lombard, IL that focuses on medical relief worldwide. The IMANA Medical Relief (IMR) initiative has impacted over 2.5 million patients in 27 countries since its inception.

  imana fundraiser

The event featured stories of two American Muslim athletes in particular: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, former Denver Nuggets player known for continually standing up for his beliefs, and former NCAA Division 1 basketball player Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, who was the first NCAA athlete to play in hijab. Abdul-Rauf was third overall pick in the 1990 NBA draft and twice led the league in free throw percentage. He is also co-captain of the Big3 basketball league’s 3-Headed Monsters team. Abdul-Qaadir holds the record for highest scorer (male or female) in Massachussetts high school basketball and also led the charge in overturning the International Basketball Association’s hijab ban after she learned she would not be allowed to play wearing one.

The dinner event included an athlete meet and greet and a live auction. Signed basketballs, jerseys and posters were auctioned to benefit IMANA.

Abdul-Rauf recounted his journey on how converting to Islam as an adult impacted his life and career. Abdul-Qaadir shared her story on coming to a crossroads in her life, and how she was faced with choosing between Islam and her life’s passion, basketball.

“It is an honor to stand side by side with these athletes who have made it their personal mission to strive for equality and acceptance,” said Akrama Hashmi, IMANA Managing Director. “Our organization strives for equity in health care across the globe, and their support will help us make a bigger impact.”

The event took place at Bridgewater Place in West Knoxville.

Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) is the largest Muslim healthcare organization in North America. Established in 1967, it is now over 50 years old and has over 4,500 members nationwide. IMANA is a leading resource and network for American Muslim physicians, dentists, and other healthcare professionals. IMANA Medical Relief (IMR) undertakes medical relief work worldwide; its volunteers travel around the globe to treat people after natural disasters, in conflict zones and in underdeveloped regions. To learn more, visit

Published October 5, 2018

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