AMV/ISEB memorial service for the victims of 9/11 tragedy
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
FREMONT, CA – American Muslim Voice (AMV) and the Islamic Society of the East Bay (ISEB) held a memorial service on September 11th, honoring the victims of the attack two years ago. At the beginning of the program, students of the ISEB Islamic School - the Peace Terrace Academy - gathered outside for a minute of silence. Two years ago, many students stayed home because their parents feared a backlash against the mosques. Many students spoke of how they view Sept. 11 as both Americans and Muslims, patriots and believers of a religion that is still misunderstood.
The 82 students traced their hands with magic marker on a large piece of paper meant to symbolize a ``circle of hope.'' They also spoke about their desire for peace and greater understanding in the world. ``September 11 was a tragic day. People of all races died,'' said Ali, an 8th grader. ``These terrorists claimed to be Muslims but they do not know that Islam is a religion of peace.'' (Picture shows AMV Executive Director, Ms. Samina Faheem with the Peace Terrace Academy speakers.)
Addressing the gathering, the AMV Executive Director Ms. Samina Faheem said 9/11 was one of the worst tragedies we faced as a nation and the Muslim Americans share the grief of the families who lost their loved ones in the terrorist attacks. Ms. Samina Faheem said there is a different kind of suffering Muslims and Arabs have been facing since 9-11 as the administration has used that horrible tragedy and our fears to wage a war against Muslims and Arabs. She urged the audience to send a strong message to the government that it cannot use this tragedy and the memory of our loved ones as a pretext to take away our civil liberties and constitutional rights, and creating havoc. “No amount of fear or tragedy will be able to shake our American ideals. These ideals are what have defined us as a nation of freedom and equality for more than 200 years and will continue to define us as a people.”
The American Muslim Voice also joined a program sponsored by the People's NonViolent Response Coalition (PNVRC) to commemorate the second anniversary of Sept. 11 in Oakland. The PNVRC is a multi-issue coalition of groups and individuals who have come together to formulate and promote nonviolent alternatives to the "war on terrorism" both at home and abroad. Speaking on this occasion, Ms. Samina Faheem emphasized that the American Muslim Voice’s main goal is to help bridge the gap between communities. “We have decided to focus on forming friendships with all of our fellow Americans regardless of race, religion and culture.”