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.