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American Muslim

AMV mourns death of a great humanitarian Worker,
 Marla Ruzicka
in Iraq

(April 18, 2005) American Muslim Voice mourns the death of a great humanitarian aid worker Marla Ruzicka and her local colleague Faiz Ali Salim in Iraq.Marla Ruzicka. from Lake port, California, was the founder of a humanitarian organization called "Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict," which is devoted to helping the families of Afghan and Iraqi civilians who have been killed or suffered other losses as a result of U.S. military operations.

Marla died in Baghdad on April 16 from a car bomb, while she was doing the work she loved and which so many people around the world admired her for.

The American Muslim Voice Executive Director Samina Faheem Sundas while expressing deep sorrow over the death of Marla Ruzicka and her local colleague Faiz Ali Salim, offered heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.

Samina Faheem Sundas said that the best way we can all honor Marla is to carry on with her inspiring work.

It was Marla’s initiative – going to Afghanistan, meeting those families, getting the media’s attention, coming back to DC and meeting with SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY and his staff – that led to the creation of a program that has contributed more than $8 million for medical assistance, to rebuild homes, to provide loans to start businesses, and for other aid to innocent Afghan victims of the military operations.

From Afghanistan Marla went to Iraq, where she arrived a day or two after Saddam’s statue fell. She and an Iraqi colleague, Faiez Ali Salem, who died at the same time as Marla, organized dozens of Iraqi volunteers to conduct surveys around the country of civilian casualties.

She returned to Washington, and again, her efforts led to the creation of a program – now known as the Civilian Assistance Program – which has provided $10 million to the families and communities of Iraqi civilians killed by U.S. and other Coalition forces. Another $10 million was allocated for this program just last week.                                             

 Honoring Marla Senator Patrick Leahy stated that in his 31 years as a United States Senator he had met lots of interesting and accomplished people from all over the world. We all have. Nobel prize winners, heads of State, people who have achieved remarkable and even heroic things in their lives. I have never met anyone like Marla Ruzicka. As anyone who knew Marla discovered, she was not someone who it was easy to say no to. In fact it was almost impossible, and that was not simply because she was insistent. It was because she had been there, she knew what war was about, she had seen the tragic results, and she was not about blaming anyone. She was about helping, in whatever ways she could.

Marla saw her work as part of the best of what this country is about. It was the face of a compassionate America that she believed in, and that she wanted the people of Afghanistan and Iraq to see.

Marla truly became an Ambassador of humanity.

For more information about Marla’s group Civic, go to http://www.civicworldwide.org 

To read Senator Leahy’s statement on Marla’s death go to http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200504/041805a.html