Northern California Makes Sustained Relief Efforts
By Ras H. Siddiqui
Khwaja Ashraf
Javaid Sayed
Umair Khan
Anwer Siddiqui
Nihal Khan

In what can only be described as an “unprecedented” time by this reporter who has been covering our community activities for the last 14 years, the past couple of weeks have witnessed so many South Asian (read Pakistani and Muslim) earthquake fundraising events in Northern California that a condensed version of some of them will have to suffice here (with a lot of help from various sources). There was just no way that this writer could possibly have been present at all of them. And from such a response, one can only hope that the mainstream media in the United States will keep the plight of the victims of this horrible natural calamity alive and that Americans and the Western world will somehow find in themselves the will to be generous to over three million homeless people who may freeze to death without aid reaching them soon.
OPEN (Silicon Valley) President Umair Khan penned his personal sentiments extremely well in an article titled “Scream” where he offers a powerful voice to the voiceless victims of the October 8, 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. “Spare a scream for the 100,000 dead and 3 million homeless, muted out of world media,” he writes. OPEN has been raising this issue effectively. It has launched a "NATIONWIDE CORPORATE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN" with the aim of getting as many people as possible to push their companies to either make a donation towards the relief effort and/or establish an "employee matching" program. It has also established a “CORPORATE HELPDESK” which will be ready to guide people in how to go about most effectively communicating to and persuading their companies to make a donation. (Rumor has it that Imran Khan will be back in town for a November 19 joint OPEN and HDF Earthquake Fundraiser, but I have not been able to confirm this yet). The TCF Fundraiser at Chandni on November 12 has been postponed, and this is confirmed.
Pakistanis at Stanford and the PSA at San Jose State University have been very active in spreading word about this disaster locally. The Stanford group needs to be commended because the students there with the help of locally influential Pakistani-Americans have held a candlelight vigil recently to promote the cause of earthquake victims both on and off campus (Thanks Rana Uzair). Last we heard from PAS, they had collected over $12,000. No word yet on the amount collected during the Stanford “Fastathon” held on the 23rd.
The small group from Tracy raised over $2300 for Hidaya and collected medicines as well as food soon after the news of the disaster came out (thanks Annie Akhtar). And the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center (SRVIC) collected over $66,000 in Danville on October 15th during an evening gathering. They were helped out by Shalimar Restaurant who donated dinner. Our commendations to SRVIC group for helping those in need (Thanks Anwar Masood, Anwer and Shaista Siddiqui and Anwar Mirza).

Prayers for earthquake victims in the Bay Area
Pakistanis in the Bay Area say dua

Saqib Mausoof sent information of fundraising activity in the City of San Francisco at the Underground SF on October 25th and at the Rotee Restaurant on the 26th when the entire day’s revenues went to this relief effort. And of course 3rdI and the Film Festival in San Francisco on November 12th will donate money to this effort from the west coast Premiere of the film “It’s My Country Too” in which Junoon’s Salman Ahmad encounters Muslim life in America after 9/11.
Riaz Ahmad from Woodland, California reported that they had collected $15,000 for the earthquake victims thus far. Folsom’s Islamic community has also collected funds but the final numbers are not yet in. ICF Fremont has collected over $42,000 and is matching donations (thanks Salim Mastan).
The huge Earthquake Fundraiser held by Islamic Relief at Chandni Restaurant on October 22nd raised some badly needed assistance. The final count of the amount of money donated was not available at the time of this writing.

Counting of funds

And last but not least, the joint Pakistani American Congress (PAC) and Pakistan Association of San Francisco Bay Area (PASBA) Fundraiser held at Mehran Restaurant on Friday, October 21st gathered together close to 200 people who were guests of Fiaz, owner of this fine eatery. Dr. Khawaja Ashraf, President Elect of the PAC, and Anwer Siddiqui, President of PASBA, hosted the event. Over $28,000 was raised in a few minutes as Pakistanis and their friends who had already donated elsewhere still remained generous. Amidst prayers held and tears shed for the victims of this calamity one can say that our community showed a unity of purpose that was refreshing. Poet Javaid Sayed put it in verse. “Zalzala Hi Zalzala Hai Zindagi Ka Silsila” and added “From Karachi to Peshawar the nation of Pakistan is like a fort.”
There are two events tonight. Waseem Sufi has informed us of an Interfaith Iftar and Fundraiser to be held is Livermore this evening. Plus another event “RAISING HOPE: A BANQUET FOR SOUTH ASIAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF” is to be held in Berkeley during which City Mayor Tom Bates is scheduled to speak. This event is a joint effort of several South Asian and religious groups. Hopefull,y we can cover at least some of this activity and the other large event scheduled for Tuesday, November 1st in Sacramento in our next report. And let us not forget the PADF and now CAIR appeal that this earthquake calamity be remembered as a vigil by all of us on Eid Day!
(This from Zain Jeewanjee: Pakistani-American doctors are encouraged to visit to see if they can spare some time and go to Pakistan to treat a huge number of the wounded and sick.).


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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