FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - This month TAPinto Franklin Township will be running a series called "Meet The Leaders”. The objective is to provide our readers an opportunity to hear from Franklin Township’s leaders in government, public safety, education, houses of worship and other areas, regarding Franklin Township’s present and future outlook.
Each participant was asked to share a little information about their background and personal life. Each “leader” was presented the same core questions that will be published unedited.
TAPinto Franklin Township’s second leader interviewed was Dr. Alex Kharazi. Kharazi has lived in Franklin Township for over thirty years and is married with three daughters and just recently became a grandfather.
Dr. Kharazi expressed he always wants to give back to the community. This has been the biggest motivating factor for him to volunteer and help various organizations and the community. Dr. Kharazi serves as a director and vice president of Muslim Foundation Inc. (Masjid-e-Ali at 47 Cedar Grove Lane), President of Franklin Township Interfaith Council, President of Razi Health Foundation of NY, Board of Trustee member and secretary of Franklin Township Dr. Martin Luther King Community Foundation, member of Human Relations Commission, and as mayor representative on the Franklin Township Planning Board. He is also a co-founder of New Jersey Interfaith Coalition and serves as a member of a faith-based committee of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity.
Question: What initiative did you start in 2016, that you are most proud of?
Dr. Kharazi also mentioned he was proud of the following:
- Being recognized as the Man of the Year by the Franklin Reporter. I am honored especially to be recognized by leaders of the other faiths by their kind words.
- I am proud to be chosen as mayor's representative on the Planning Board.
- We restarted Franklin Township Interfaith Council and was chosen as its president.
- I am pleased to get Council's support to give an honorary name of Interfaith Lane to Cedar Grove Lane in recognition of all the houses of worship for the citizens of this community.
- I am also proud that we held the Bystander Intervention and De-escalation workshop in the township!
Question: What will be your main objective for 2017?
Answer: I hope we continue to bring more organizations to join Franklin Township Interfaith Council and NJ Interfaith Coalition. We are hoping to initiate some sort of collaboration with restaurants in town to initiate " Buy a meal for a Neighbor" program. If we accomplish this it will be great. It not only will help businesses it enables many of our less fortunate neighbors to enjoy meals in restaurants in town.
Question: What do you feel will be Franklin Township’s biggest challenge in 2017?
Answer: To continue building good relationships between the diverse members of the community. As the new president takes office there is a concern that this community, and many other communities across the nation, may be polarized and hate and bigotry may become more visible. I hope members of this community will challenge any form of bigotry. We need to remember that America is our home and it is a beautiful place to live. It is our duty as the citizen of this nation to give back and do our best to promote unity and co-existence among all. Each one of us has good things to offer to this community. Together we can accomplish much more than each of us can do.
Question: Are you involved with any youth groups for the community that you would like to share?
Answer: Currently I am not involved with any youth group.
Question: What do you do in your spare time?
Answer: I am engaged as a volunteer in various community organizations. I also tutor math and SAT. I love gardening, reading and spending time with our first granddaughter, Hanna and my family!
Question: Five words that describe Franklin Township are?
Answer: Diverse, Clean, Beautiful Parks, Great People, Caring Staff
When asked about his role as President of Franklin Township's Interfaith Council, he said: "we have a very diverse faith group in town (over 60 houses of worship)." Even though many of his friends don't have the same faith as him, Dr. Kharazi still feels they are wonderful people.
"Franklin Township Interfaith Council was kind of dormant for a while," Kharazi said. "...Pastor George Montanari as well as our township Mayor, Dr. Phil Kramer suggested we should activate it again." Last May during the National Day of prayer the council was formally started and during the election, Dr. Kharazi was chosen as the president.
Kharazi said he lives by a rather simple philosophy. "My philosophy in life is rather simple. Each day I remind myself of the famous quote by the son-in-law of prophet Mohamed (PBUH), Imam Ali, which is, "remember people are two kinds, they are either your brothers in faith or equal in humanity." Each day I pray to God to give me good health to do a good deed, which includes smiling at someone, helping a needy or simply not causing a trouble for anyone. When I have the opportunity I remind others that America is our Home and this is our community. It is our duty to take care of our home. Some are fortunate and can give back more while others are less fortunate and can give back less. Nevertheless, all of us could /should give something back. I also believe that human beings have been created in the image of God, therefore we can embrace our deepest moral values and can commit to love each other regardless of the color of our skin, faith, sexual orientation, and national origin."
Be sure to come back to TAPintoFranklinTownship.net for updates on Dr. Alex Kharazi and other religious and spiritual news!
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