Monday President Bush visited a mosque and called on Americans to comdemn those who harass fellow citizens because of their backgrounds. That's encouraging news to Hakim Ouanasafi, the president of the Muslim Association in Hawaii. He has been thrust into the spotlight since the attacks.
Hakim Ouanasafi was a computer science major before he turned to managing hotels and leading the local Muslim community. He relies on his beliefs and his love for America. That combination, along with a sense of humor, makes him someone people listen to and support.
Ouanasafi stops to pray five times a day even though he manages a Waikiki hotel. That was part of his routine before the terrorist attack on America.
"Like any American, getting up, giving thanks to god, having our breakfast," says Hakim.
And it's still part of his routine. Only now, he's become a public figure almost overnight as people turn to him to learn about Muslims - who have been linked to the attacks.
"Remove hatred, labels that we give to each other and replace it with love, compassion and mercy," says Hakim.
He comes though with lessons on humanity based on his faith. And people come through for him...
"The support is tremendous and it keeps pouring in - letters, cards, phones, messages...tremendous, tremendous," says Hakim.
In one day, a letter from the Church of the Crossroad, a phonecall from the Japanese American Citizens League inviting him to a board meeting...Hakim is a leader seizing the moment, using it as a way to show islam in action. And to show who he is - like he did 18 years ago when he move from his native Morocco to the United States.
"When I came to the country, I had three-hundred dollars in my pocket and I said 'I'm never going to ask the family for money. I'm going to see what hakim is about,'"
And what Hakim is about is living what he believes and stepping foward when events call to him.
"You put the hate aside, you put your personal feelings aside and you serve your community," says Hakim.
And if he does forget about what's good in his life, he looks in the mirror at a scar on his face from a bicycle accident. It always does the trick.
"Something to be thankful about, if I run out of things I can look at this."
Hakim says he became an American citizen twelve years ago. He says he knows of no incidents to date against Muslims but has hired security for the Islamic Center in Manoa.