Saba Trust Holds Second
World Interfaith Peace Conference
A Pakistan link Report
at the Second World Interfaith Peace Conference, Islamabad
Islamabad: The second
world interfaith peace conference organized by Saba Education
and Welfare Trust in collaboration with National Commission
on Human Development was held at the Marriot to promote harmony
and understanding between different religions of the world.
It was sponsored by Akram Chaudhry of World Link Travel and
Abu Bakr Vakil, a prominent businessman from the US.
Nasir Khan, Health Minister, who was the chief guest on the
occasion, observed that President Pervez Musharraf's vision
of 'enlightened moderation' was a step forward towards achieving
the objective of peaceful coexistence. Denouncing the concept
of "clash of civilizations," he said Islam, which
means peace, is the religion that guarantees the safety of
life and property of Muslims and non Muslims in an Islamic
State. The minister said it was the responsibility of all
politicians and leaders of the world to take the lead role
in promoting peace and harmony.
Minister of State and Chairman of National Commission for
Human Development (NCHD), Dr. Nasim Ashraf, addressing the
large gathering, said terrorism does not recognize any religion
or geographical boundaries and all religions today stand united
to defeat this scourge. "We all are children of the same
faith and every religion values justice as backbone of all
global peace, without which the global peace will remain a
dream, " he added.
He specially thanked Thomas L. Thorkelson of Southern California,
USA, who is a Mormon Christian by faith, for donating $15,000
for the construction of a mosque in the US which was chaired
by Saba Aslam Education and Welfare Trust's Chairman, Saghir
Aslam. Tom also donated 3 ambulances to Saba Trust.
Earlier, Thomas L. Thorkelson, Sheila Thorkelson, and John
Jones from the US spoke about the commonalties between Christianity
Mr. Thorkelson said that God recognizes the virtues of people.
He acknowledged that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was
the greatest religious leader of all times.
A group photo of the organizers
and participants in the conference. Mr Saghir Aslam
is second from left. Next to him is Mr Abu
Tom Thorkelson also made
arrangements for Saghir Aslam to meet Dr. Jackson chief executive
officer and president of Dessert International. Since their
meeting Dr. Jackson has been donating eye lenses and other
equipment, including a much needed camera for eye operations
at a cost around $30,000. Total donations in equipment and
lenses have exceeded $100,000 to help many poor people in
far flung villages.
Sheila O’ Leary made arrangements for Mr. Aslam to meet
Jason Hamlin founder and President of the Genesis Project
whose mission is to feed the hungry around the world. Mr.
Jason Hamlin was so impressed with Saba Trust’s 40 years
of service and track record in serving the poor and the needy
that he immediately made a commitment to Mr. Aslam that he
would supply food for poor Pakistanis. Within days Jason Hamlin
started collecting food to be donated to Saba Trust. Soon
a 40-foot container full of food will leave for Pakistan to
be distributed to the poor and needy.
Editor of "The News" Fadh Husain highlighted the
role of the media in promoting the message of peace and understanding
amongst the religions of the world.
Ex-minister for sport, minorities and youth affairs, Col.
(r) S.K Tresslor, observed that God's blessings do not differentiate
between religions and geographical boundaries.
Abu Bakr Vakil, a prominent businessman from US, also spoke
on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Saba Aslam Eduction and Welfare
Trust Chairman Saghir Aslam remarked, "It is through
these practical steps that we can promote interfaith harmony
in the world.
“We need to work together to build bridges on daily
basis and continue dialogues and meetings of different faiths
throughout the year on regular scheduled basis and Saba Trust
will take the lead and provide a platform for regular meetings.”
Concluding his remarks, Saghir Aslam asked everyone attending
the conference to make a pledge to work for better understanding
among all religions and for peace and friendship between all
to make this world a better place for us all.He paused and
asked everyone three times to pledge to work together for
peace and harmony “to make this world a better place
for all of us.”
Mr. Aslam stated that Saba Trust has been instrumental in
distributing clothes and other gifts to over 12 million people
of different faiths including many Christian Churches and
different countries including neighboring Afghanistan and
Iran after their Bam earthquake in December of 2004.
The Chairman of Saba Education and Welfare Trust stated that
the Trust has also distributed 15 million rupees worth of
new clothes including T-shirts, sweatshirts, warm jackets,
children's clothes, gift boxes that were donated by Mission
Viejo Christian Women's group through the efforts of Br.Mahboob
Akhtar. All these items were distributed in the four provinces
in collaboration with over 100 well-established organizations
such as National Commission on Human Development, Rotary International,
Edhi Foundation, Islamic Relief Worldwide and many Christian
Saba Trust has also set up over two dozen computer labs in
different parts of Pakistan including the Christian community,
some in remote villages such as Sakurdo and Balochistan. Many
students are benefiting with NIT education on a daily basis
and Saba Trust staff monitors the computer labs regularly.
“With Allah's Blessings the Saba Aslam Education and
Welfare Trust has donated 4000 computers and approximately
1 lakh rupees worth printers, copiers and fax machines to
different schools and poor and needy students that were donated
to us by Siraj Bukhari of Forbes computers,” Mr Aslam
During the last 40 years Saba Trust founders have helped 5000
families with Micro Credit to setup their own businesses.”
One example is where a barbershop owner whom we loaned $1,000,
one of our largest loan. This barbershop owner was working
for someone else and was earning 1700 rupees per month. Now
running his new business with Allah's Blessing he is earning
more than 100,00 Rupees per month. He has already paid back
the loan and the money has been loaned to another entrepreneur,
best way of Sadaq Jaria. $1000 is loaned over and over again.
He expects it to double next year as he is going to add another
chair and hire more people. Saba Trust has also set up sewing
centers,” Mr Saghir Aslam stated.
At the end, shields were presented to all participants by
The Saba Aslam Education and Welfare Trust has been working
to promote education, self-reliance and prosperity amongst
people of Pakistan for the last 40 years.