By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
The American Muslim Voice commemorated the third anniversary of the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks candlelight vigils in Palo Alto, CA, Woodland, CA and Long Island, NY.
In Palo Alto, the candle light vigil at the Civic Center, was attended, among others, by Vice Mayor of Palo Alto, Mr. Jim Burch and Ms. Yoriko Kishimoto, Palo Alto Council member.
Mr. Jim Burch praised AMV’s initiative for honoring the families of victims 9/11 by holding this event. He also appreciated AMV’s efforts for engaging and bringing people together. Ms. Yoriko Kishimoto thanked AMV’s Executive Director, Ms. Samina Faheem Sundas, for inviting for this event. “I am glad to stand with her in her effort to unite people.” Alluding to the shrinking civil liberties of Muslims and Arabs, she said that the Japanese Americans have undergone through the same experience during the Second World War.
Ms. Samina Faheem Sundas told the audience that “I don’t wish to meet them during forums, teach-ins and memorials. “ She said the AMV’s goal is to build genuine friendship with all of our fellow Americans. “We want to take the interfaith to the next level of true relationship.” Samina went on to say that the AMV is a civil rights organization building alliances and real partnership with like minded groups to protect and preserve civil liberties and constitutional rights for all. “Our goal is to bridge the gap between all communities.”
There was an open mike and many speakers said that they agree with this beautiful goal of uniting people of all faiths. Many sang some peace songs.
Popular singer Mica, gave live performance at the vigil. Before the performance, Mica emphasized that she is not a party of any particular religion and music is her way of speaking goodwill, peace and joy. She said that she was looking for something where she could belong. “I am glad to be part of this.”
AMV has been receiving phone calls from different organizations and individuals to join its efforts, widening its circle of friends.
The AMV Palo Alto vigil was give wide TV, radio and print media coverage including: ABC, NBC, KRON, CBS, FOX.
Harmony Bakery of Palo Alto and AMV provided refreshments for the vigil.
The Palo Alto vigil was co-sponsored by: ACLU,( American Civil lLberty Union ) CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), JACL (Japanese American Citizens League - San Jose), MCA (Muslim Community Association), NOC (Nihonmachi Outreach Committee), and SBIA (South Bay Islamic Association), Peace & action committee of Palo Alto friends service, ( Quakers) Civil Liberties Committee of the SF Gray Panthers. Peninsula Peace and Justice Center.
Vigil in Woodland: On the evening of September 11, 2004 a candlelight vigil was held at the Mosque in Woodland, California.
The Woodland vigil program stared right after evening prayer at the mosque. Men Women, Childern of all ages participated in the program. Imam of the mosque Qari Tasawwar Iqbal started the program with recitation of the Quran. Mr. Khalid Saeed, Director of the AMV Northern California briefly talked about AMV's plan for holding these vigils throughout the nation where there are AMV chapters. He talked about the victims in general and then he shared a list of names of Muslim victims who were killed at the WTC. Mr. Khalid Saeed thanked every one for participating in the vigil and the prayer service.
After his comments the participants gathered to light the candles. Many other participants made brief comments about the evening and shared their thoughts about killing innocent regardless of their race or religion.
Haji Zulfiqar who has recently come from Pakistan said that we should condemn any one who kills an innocent person regardless the religion or the race of the perpetrators. He said that the people who were killed at WTC were innocent people.
Mr. Riaz Ahmad, the Mosque president, also shared the similar thought.
He was the main on-site organizer of the event. He had provided the refreshments for the events. Another official of the Mosque Association Muhammad Tariq also worked hard for the success of the program and shared his thoughts about the importance of the having this remembrance program. Qari Bashir, an elderly scholar of the community also showed his appreciation of the program.
Imam Qari Tasawwar Iqbal made the prayer for the victims and the families.
The Woodland program was organized by the AMV with the help of Mr. Riaz Ahmad, President Muslim Mosque Woodland, Mr. Muhammad Usman Sadiq , Principal Muslim Mosque School, Mr. Frahan Anwar President AMV Woodland chapter and Mr. Umar Saeed President Pakistan American Forum .
Earlier all these organizations had issued following joint statement saying:" We dedicate this day for the innocent victims of 9/11and their families and pray for healing, harmony and peace in our world. Let us work together to make this world a better place for our next generation.
A similar vigil, held in Long Island, was endorsed by the American Muslim Alliance New York Chapter.