Conference on Peace and
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
The Hayward, CA-based Islamic Educational
and Cultural Research Center (IECRC), held its 3rd Annual
National Conference entitled “Celebrating the Holy Prophet
Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him): Creating Spiritual & Social
Harmony for Humanity,” at at Hayward’s Centennial
Hall, on June 19, 2005.
The Conference drew several hundred people from across the
country. The panel of presenters included Dr. Usha Sanyal,
Author and Adjunct Lecturer at the Department of History,
Queens University of Charlotte, North Carolina; Rev. Kelly
Childress, Spiritual Care Coordinator and Chaplain at Kaiser
Hayward; Mr. Sharaaz Khan, Director of IECRC; Syeda Zille
Humma Ayyaz, Research Scholar at IECRC; Mufti Azeem, Imam
at Yuba City Islamic Center; Dr. Mohammad Ahmed Qadri, Founding
Director of IECRC and world-renowned Qur’an reciter,
Qari Syed Sadaqat Ali of Pakistan.
Mayor Roberta Cooper sent IECRC a written message of welcome,
congratulations and goodwill on the occasion of its 3rd Annual
Conference. She expressed pleasure at IECRC’s choice
of Hayward as the location for their special event. “I
encourage all residents of Hayward to learn more about the
Islamic culture. I am confident that this conference will
educate many about the Islamic people by celebrating Islamic
heritage and culture,” she wrote in the letter she sent
in lieu of her not being able to attend.
Dr. Usha Sanyal of Queens University, North Carolina, presented
her research paper “Ahmed Raza Khan: his scholarship,
spirituality, and love for the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon
Him)” that she had specially prepared for IECRC’s
3rd Annual Conference.
Rev. Kelly Childress, Spiritual Care Coordinator and Chaplain
at Kaiser Hospital in Hayward, shared her views and experiences
offering services to terminally ill patients. She remarked
that during a patient’s last moments they are faced
with the most essential questions about life and caring for
his spiritual needs are vital.
Dr. Mohammad Ahmed Qadri, Founding Director of IECRC, gave
an extraordinarily informative talk (by telephone) explaining
the status of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the importance of
commemorating and celebrating the Milad Shareef (Blessed Birth)
as a form of “Eid”. He said that it is imperative
that people understand that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had called
Friday as a day of “Eid” for the Muslims.
Syeda Zille Humma Ayyaz of IECRC presented a research article
quoting many of the greatest scholars and saints of the Islamic
tradition and what they have written about the status of the
Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The guest of honor was Qari Syed Sadaqat Ali of Pakistan who
recited the Holy Qur’an and Naat in his melodious voice
quenching the thirst of the eagerly awaiting audience. There
were many other very talented Naat reciters who presented
their heart-warming pieces. Mr. Akhtar Shah, a well-known
community member, compered the adult section.
On the occasion of IECRC’s 3rd Annual Conference, Mr.
Sharaaz Khan of the IECRC released his latest book: “The
Spirit of Islam” which is available from the IECRC office.
The day-long conference included a colorful children’s
program where children as young as three years old recited
poetry in praise of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Sisters Syeda
Zille Humma Ayyaz and Fatima Sharaaz Qadri were comperes of
the children’s program. Syeda Zille Humma emphasized
the importance of teaching children from a very young age
about the importance of loving the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
On behalf of IECRC Board of Directors and members, Mr. Ayyaz
Yousaf, Managing Director of IECRC, offered a vote of thanks
appreciating all the speakers and reciters who took time out
from their busy schedules to make IECRC’s 3rd Annual
Conference a great success. He also thanked the numerous volunteers
whose phenomenal efforts allowed for a smooth and organized
program. Mr. Yousaf thanked members of the media for helping
to advertise this event, particularly the Pakistan Link.