On June 18, 2008, Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse and Medina-Baye, Kaolack, Senegal were honored through the inauguration of Al Fayda Radio FM by Mr. Farba Senghor, the Republic of Senegal’s Minister of Air Transport and Crafts. Al Fayda Radio FM is the premier media project of the African American Islamic Institute (AAII), the international, humanitarian NGO founded by Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse in 1988. In addition to being Founder and Chairman of AAII, Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse is Chief Imam of the Central Mosque in Medina-Baye, the Senegalese Ambassador for the Promotion of Child Survival and Maternal Breastfeeding, President of the Network of African Islamic Organizations for Population and Development, President of Elhadji Ibrahim Niass University and the First Honorary Member of the Imams and Ulama Association of Mauritania. As a respected Islamic scholar and leader, Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse will enroll Al Fayda Radio FM airwaves to inform listeners around the world that Islam is a religion of peace that does not advocate terrorism, nor condone terrorists.
The historic inauguration of Al Fayda Radio FM took place in the presence of local, national and international dignitaries, to include the Governor of the Kaolack Region and other regional officials, Mr. Douglas C. Boynton, representing Voice of America (VOA) in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Joyce Ngoh, representing Voice of America (VOA) in Ghana, Mrs. Robin Diallo, Public Affairs Officer, United States Embassy in Dakar, Mr. Oumar Wat, Diector of Communications, United States Embassy in Dakar, Mr. Ian Hopwood, Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Dakar, and Mr. Hassan Ben Musa, the First Advisor of the Moroccan Embassy in Dakar. In addition, the event was attended by numerous supporters from America and a variety of other countries.
AAII spokesman, Cheikh Diery Cisse, traced the genesis of the project to a meeting that occurred between Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse and Dr. Cindy Courville, who was then the Adviser on African Affairs to President George W. Bush. Following their conversation about Islam, during which Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse quoted Qu’ran and Hadith to demonstrate Islamic principles of peace and compassion, Dr. Courville made a verbal commitment to help modernize AAII’s community radio station and provide it with the capability to reach an international audience with the message that Islam is a religion of peace, harmony and tolerance. That commitment has culminated in the inauguration of Al Fayda Radio FM, in partnership with Voice of America (VOA).
Cheikh Diery Cisse stated the objective of Al Fayda Radio FM is to inform its listening audience about current issues and provide educational programs on various topics to increase understanding and the ability to engage in dialog with the rest of the world. In keeping with its name, “Al Fayda, ” which means “the flood,” the radio station will provide a flood of information, ideas and messages of peace and democracy across the continent of Africa and the world. Further, Al Fayda Radio FM will strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between Senegalese and American people through the exchange of programs with its partner, Voice of America (VOA). The religious and positive entertainment programs that had previously only been available to the local community will now be broadcast to a vast international audience, as well.
Cheikh Diery Cisse described the invaluable role of Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse in Medina-Kaolack and the entire region in the fight against ignorance and illness through AAII’s development of schools (Qur’anic, Arabic and English), the Shifa-al-Asqam Socio-Medical Center and satellite clinics, the Elhadji Ibrahim Niass Medical School, and now Al Fayda Radio FM. Considering all the achievements of AAII under his chairmanship, he said that Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse is the “Benefactor of the 21st Century.” and asked Almighty Allah to grant him strong health and long life so that he can continue to share his spiritual, intellectual and material generosity with his community, his country and the world.
When Minister Senghor addressed the audience, he elaborated upon the huge contributions that Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse has made to the building of the Senegalese nation by demonstrating the positive values he espouses. On behalf of the President of the Republic of Senegal, he expressed his gratitude to Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse and his pride and appreciation for having him as a citizen. The Minister promised to help Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse continue his legacy of public service in cooperation with the Senegalese government in the areas of access to health care, promotion of literacy and other important areas of social development.
Mrs. Robin Diallo thanked Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse for entering into partnership with Voice of America (VOA) in order to strengthen the bonds between Senegal and the United States. She said she was happy to be assured that Al Fayda Radio FM will consciously contribute to the promotion of peace, love, harmony and democracy.
Finally, Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse expressed his appreciation to Dr. Cindy Courville, to Voice of America (VOA), to the Minister and to all the dignitaries and supporters gathered for the inauguration. He referred to Al Fayd Radio FM as a “precious instrument” that will be used to inform, educate and prepare the community to be able to participate in and benefit from globalization. Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse emphasized the importance of ethical, unbiased reporting and stated that Al Fayda Radio FM will not be used to put forth partisan political or social rhetoric, nor as a weapon against the government. Rather, both the programming and administration of Al Fayda Radio FM will reflect the ethical framework provided by Islam.
A celabratory banquet was held for Shaykh Hasan Ali Cisse and his guests at “Le Relais Hotel” in Kaolack.