Al-Shifa Foundation of North America Raises Funds for the Visually Impaired in Pakistan
By Dr. Mujahid Ghazi
Rallies for immigration reform
Chicago : Hundreds of supporters gathered in Marriot Schaumburg last Saturday to raise funds for the projects of Al-Shifa Trust Hospitals in Pakistan. Renowned ophthalmologist Dr. Pervaiz Rasul conducted the proceedings which started with the recitation of Surah Rehman by a 10-year-old Hifz student Zakaria Siyaji.
Dr. Javed Bangash, president of AFNA Chicago Chapter, welcomed the guests and recognized the organizing committee. He commended the projects of Al-Shifa Trust and the leadership of Retired General Jehandad Khan. Chief Guest Mr. Asad Hyauddin shed light on the importance of helping humanity in Islam. He also mentioned that General Jehandad was a regular Musalli in the mosque where his father was the president. Mr. Tahir Zafar, national president of AFNA, explained in detail the various projects of Al-Shifa Trust completed since its inception and future strategy and planning for the elimination of reversible blindness and cure of treatable diseases of the eye.
With the help of statistics he showed how a large number of the poor and needy population of Pakistanis are getting benefit from Al-Shifa hospitals in Rawalpindi, Sukkur, Kohat and Muzzafarabad. He also read a message from the founder of Al-Shifa General Retired Jehandad Khan.
Professor Miller and Dr. Pervez Rasul were awarded lifetime achievement awards for their dedication and support for the projects of Al-Shifa Trust. Mr. Bashir Akuly and Mr. Shaheen Pervez were recognized for their organizational skills and volunteerism. The young team of volunteers lead by Khurram Habib, Fahad Jafri and Natasha was also recognized. Effective fundraising was done by this scribe followed by a delicious dinner catered by Pepper and Salt Restaurant’s Abdul Kalam Pasha. After the dinner Naila Moghal with Taha on the organ and Raheel on tabla entertained the audience until the early morning hours of Sunday. Mehmood Minhas did an excellent job with sound.
Rallies for Immigration Reform Coincide with International Labor Day
Rallies for immigration reform were held in Chicago, Naperville, Glen Ellyn, Aurora and Palatine last Saturday. Thousands of people marched on the streets and campaigned for the long awaited immigration reform. In Palatine about a thousand people marched from St. Thomas Villanova Church in Palatine and proceeded east along Anderson Drive to Mission San Juan Diego on Wilke Road in Arlington Heights.
Speaking to the rally the leaders and victims portrayed the current immigration laws as unjust and cruel. They condemned the action of the State of Arizona and asked the audience to boycott everything associated with Arizona. There were signs and chanting of slogans "Shame on Arizona/ Reform, Not Racism" and "We Live Here, We Work Hard, Open Your Hearts, Give Us a Chance."
Speakers claimed that trillions of dollars can be contributed to the US economy by these illegal immigrants in the form of taxes if they are legalized. They also claimed that these undocumented people already contribute to the corporate world in the form of hard labor.
They also said that this is a humanitarian issue and should be treated in that spirit. Families and children of these undocumented individuals are suffering due to their status and President Obama has to fulfill the promise he made before the elections.
This scribe also spoke at this rally representing South Asian Muslims and CIOGC.
"People who came here came here to work," Palys said. "People would come the legal way if the legal way wasn't backed up 20 years."
Jessica Palys, organizer for ICIRR, Illinois Coalition for Immigrants and Refugee Rights, said the Arizona incident has given strength to the rallies. More people have gotten aware of the issue. Talking to a local news paper she also said that the people come here to work and these people could have come the legal way if it wasn’t backed up 20 years.