Community Braces Stormy Weather to Raise $700,000 Anaheim, CA:

Despite rainy weather, over 1,600 people attended the Tsunami benefit banquet at the Anaheim Hilton on Sunday, January 9. The event was organized by the Islamic Relief and co-sponsored by the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California. Over $700,000 were raised at the event for providing emergency relief to the tsunami victim. Islamic Relief USA is implementing several emergency relief projects to help the most affected areas in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India.

The projects include emergency medical aid, hygiene kits, emergency shelter, water and sanitation, and distribution of food and clean water. Shakeel Syed moderated the evening for Shura Council and introduced the diplomatic corps by saying that "no tragedy could ever be truly understood but from the victims' perspective." He invited the Indonesian Consul General Mr. Handriyo Priyo to address the gathering. The Consul General informed that the infrastructure in Aceh is all but destroyed, but the Government is doing everything it can to restore it. He was followed by the Malaysian Consul General, Br. Zulkephli Noor, who thanked Allah for relatively negligible loss of life and property in Malaysia and assured of his Government's support for neighboring Indonesia.

The Sri Lankan Consul General Mr. Gamini Pemasiri appreciated the thoughtfulness of the Los Angeles community in organizing this benefit banquet and apprised the gathering of the massive loss of life and property in his country. Ms. Nantana Sivakua, Deputy Consul General of Thailand, expressed her governments' deep appreciation for the efforts of the Shura Council and the Islamic Relief and said that humanity is at loss, not just Thailand. Mohammad Naeem, an Islamic Relief field worker, made a call from Aceh and talked to the banquet participants. He informed that there are dead bodies on the streets and survivors are literally scrambling to find any piece of information about their family.

They are struggling for access to the basic essentials of - clean water and food. Naeem joined Anwar Khan of Islamic Relief and appealed the community for extending as much financial support as possible and immediately, not later. Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, Chairman of the Shura Council, prayed for the affected people and urged the gathering to materially contribute as well as pray that the tsunami hit people have courage, patience and perseverance to face the after-effects of the colossal tragedy. The speakers also included Dr.Jamal Badawi. The Consul General of Pakistan showed up to express solidarity with his diplomatic peers.

Elder Randall Huff from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recorded the support of his church for the relief work. At the conclusion of the evening, Islamic Relief officials thanked the community at large. They also expressed appreciation for the services of the Shura Council and its members by presenting a plaque which was received by Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi on behalf of the Shura Council.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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