Islamic Relief USA Hosts Fundraiser for Flood Victims
By Ayesha Rizvi
Pictures above: Glimpses of the fundraiser organized by Islamic Relief USA
Anaheim , CA: Islamic Relief, one of the most widely recognized and credible charity organizations in the United States, hosted an emergency iftar dinner to raise money for the Pakistani flood victims at the Hilton Hotel in Anaheim, California, on September 4 th 2010.
The event began with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an by Sheikh Muhammad followed by its English translation which stressed the importance of helping people in need.
Among the five learned guest speakers were Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, Sheikh Muhammad and Mr. Anwar Khan. Each one of them spoke with great concern for the plight of the flood victims and repeatedly mentioned that this natural disaster was bigger than any they had witnessed before.
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi spoke with regards to the act of 'mercy' as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. Throughout his speech, he highlighted the extent of the terrifying calamity that has struck Pakistan. He enumerated the major items of daily use that are desperately needed by the flood survivors, which included clothing, clean water, food and much more. Dr. Siddiqui brought up the importance of Ramadan, and how essential it is in this holy month to give to the needy and to help the poor. He urged the audience to come forward and help the flood survivors.
Sheikh Muhammad, a dedicated supporter of Islamic Relief, expressed his main worry about the situation at hand which related to the media involvement. He claimed, “The only thing that really got me was that I didn't realize the media is not covering this catastrophe as they should.” Sheikh Muhammad mentioned the number of people who have been affected by the flood catastrophe - over twenty million - and explained that people mostly respond to the death toll, which would go up if people continue to ignore the horrifying disaster. He explained, “All we can do for the dead is pray for them, but we need to step forward for the people who are suffering today!”
Mr. Anwar Khan, Vice-President and National Development Director of Islamic Relief, was the main speaker for the evening. He has only recently returned from Pakistan after working for the flood victims. He began by mentioning that ten offices of Islamic Relief are in operation in Pakistan to extend help to the flood victims. Mr Khan presented a video he had put together to reveal the extent of the horrifying situation that exists in Pakistan. He mentioned that he, along with Younis Khan (a Pakistani cricketer), distributed food to over two thousand flood survivors in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa. He stated that “people were up to their neck in water and children are dying of hunger – they are not going to break their fast in this life”.
Among the audience was Shaista khan, Islamic Relief’s Pakistan Development Coordinator for the US, who also voiced her views about the situation in Pakistan. She explained how her very first attempt to reach out to the masses instantly went in vain. Shaista came across many who ignored the Pakistani cries for help but refused to give up and eventually succeeded in reaching out to people across the US.
Islamic Relief’s disaster relief efforts have been commended by world leaders and have been recognized by international organizations such as the United Nations World Food Program (UNWFP) and the Department for International Development. Islamic Relief has helped more than 100,000 Pakistani flood victims and is struggling to reach out to many more who are still suffering and are in desperate need of basic resources for survival.