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Muslims and Jews team up to aid Sudan

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Nausheen View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 April 2005 at 1:19pm

Auzubillahi minash shaitan ir rajeem,

Bismillah ir rahman ir rahim.

Muslims and Jews team up to aid Sudan

Carmela Fragomeni - The Hamilton Spectator - April 22, 2005

Two Hamilton men are bringing their religious communities together in a way that is unheard of in many parts of the world.

Lorne Finkelstein, a Jew, and Javid Mirza, a Muslim -- both with strong views and personalities but from traditionally polarized communities -- would likely not have become friends in most other cities.

But this professional doctor and this working man have come together in a city that strives to be an example of how diverse peoples cannot just tolerate each other but actually work together for the common good.

Finkelstein and Mirza are both on the Strengthening Hamilton Communities Initiative, an organization of community leaders formed in the aftermath of 9/11 to combat racism in Hamilton. Now, the two want to aid Darfur, Sudan.

Finkelstein and other Hamilton Jews have been guests for the past two years at the Muslim Eid-ul-Fitr dinner at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Mirza, president of the Muslim Association of Hamilton, and Finkelstein, a cardiologist, worked together in the community bid to save an Afghan boy's life by bringing him to Canada for heart surgery last year.

This time, the two are working together to put the spotlight on the genocide unfolding in the Darfur region of Sudan in northeast Africa, bordering Egypt. With participation from some local Hamiltonians of Sudanese heritage, they have organized a free public forum next Thursday for Hamiltonians to learn about what's going on.

Finkelstein is driven to do this by the thought that the world has learned nothing from the Holocaust during the Second World War, the genocide in Rwanda 11 years ago and the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia.

This is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp, one of many camps in which millions of Jews were collected and killed.

After Finkelstein recently watched the movie Hotel Rwanda, he says, "It hit me that here we are 60 years later, clearly, we haven't learned a thing ... We're no further ahead when you look at what's happening in Darfur."

An estimated 100,000 people have died in the genocide in Darfur, in the west of Sudan. Another two million have fled their homes.

Finkelstein began sending out e-mails to get people to speak out when he learned Temple Anshe Shalom was devoting a service in March to Darfur and he helped spread the word. About 60 people of different ethnicity and religions, including Mirza, came to hear it.

At the end, "Javid stood up and he said something to effect that the Muslim and Jewish communities worked so well together in the situation of the Afghan boy, why don't we work together on this again? We should not let this evening stop here but we should move forward ... I said, 'yes, we'll do it.'"

Mirza says he and Finkelstein are committed to working together.

"We took an oath a long time ago that we were going to try to work things out and try to do some things that serve this city."

And to serve this city, they want their communities to come to know each other as they have.

"People cannot break down the barriers until they get to know each other."

That's not to say the two men don't have their detractors and skeptics, or that they don't have strong views about Israel and Palestine, or even that they don't disagree.

"You have to understand," says Mirza, "that it's OK to disagree with someone, but you don't have to hit that person because you disagree with them on a certain topic."

Finkelstein met Mirza a year- and-a-half ago. He was reluctant at first to meet him, having read in the paper that the first time Jews were invited to the Eid-ul-Fitr dinner, the Hamilton Jewish Federation president was told she shouldn't speak.

Mirza says he was nervous that first time and was being very cautious. "I didn't know what was going to happen."

Shortly after they did meet, Finkelstein read about the Muslim community's efforts to bring the Afghan boy to Canada and called to offer his help.

"We built up a great rapport through this kid," says Mirza. "And since then, I consider Lorne as a friend."

The next dinner was a huge success. The Muslim community easily recognized Finkelstein as the doctor who helped raise funds in the Jewish community for the boy's care.

"The expressions of warmth and gratitude and human relations that came from the podium were breathtaking," said Finkelstein.

Finkelstein quickly comes to Mirza's defence when Mirza is cast in an unfavourable light for donating the leftover money from the boy's care to Sick Kids rather than sending it home to Afghanistan with him.

Mirza, for his part, has an admiration for Finkelstein's sense of commitment. On the Darfur issue, he says of Finkelstein "this man -- he's on a mission from God."

Says Finkelstein, "We're pleased that we can break barriers down so we can show the Muslim community we're part of the same community as you are."

The public forum on Darfur is 7 p.m., Thursday, April 28 at the Hamilton Convention Centre.

 

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<font color=purple>Wanu nazzilu minal Qurani ma huwa

Shafaa un wa rahmatun lil mo'mineena

wa la yaziduzzalimeena illa khasara.
[/COLOR]
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abuayisha View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote abuayisha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2005 at 2:43pm

Says Finkelstein, "We're pleased that we can break barriers down so we can show the Muslim community we're part of the same community as you are."

Excellent!  Thank you for sharing this article.

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umsami View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote umsami Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2005 at 7:34am
Great article.  Thanks for sharing. :)
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Nausheen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nausheen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2005 at 8:58pm

My pleasure folks :)

or shall I say in the Canadian style, "no problem"

<font color=purple>Wanu nazzilu minal Qurani ma huwa

Shafaa un wa rahmatun lil mo'mineena

wa la yaziduzzalimeena illa khasara.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yusuf. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2005 at 5:55am

III 113. Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration.

114. They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. 

115. Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for Allah knoweth well those that do right.



Edited by Yusuf.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Patty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2005 at 9:21am

What a beautiful article Nausheen.  It reminds me a little of "Seeds of Peace" for adults.  I think it could be the beginning of something big.  

With Fond Regards,

Patty

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ZamanH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2005 at 10:53am
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III 113. Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration.

114. They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. 

115. Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for Allah knoweth well those that do right.





As Salaam Alaikum,

Nice post akhi Yusuf.


A single swallow does not make a summer.

Israel is a colonial state. It can exist only long as it rules; not a single day longer. I don't understand how can any Muslim/person accept Israel as a legitimate state and still be righteous.



Edited by ZamanH
An enemy of an enemy is a fickle friend.
There will be more women in hell than men.
..for persecution is worse than the slaughter of the enemy..(Quran 2:191)
Heaven lies under mother's feet
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote -ArabianKnight- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2005 at 5:53pm

Originally posted by ZamanH ZamanH wrote:



A single swallow does not make a summer.

Israel is a colonial state. It can exist only long as it rules; not a single day longer. I don't understand how can any Muslim/person accept Israel as a legitimate state and still be righteous.

 

I dont understand how can any Muslim/person drink coconut juice and still be righteous..

You see?.. thats how silly you sound to me..

The state of Isreal is not the enemy. Evil is the enemy, and evil can take the form of vile actions done by both Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Yes - thats RIGHT - MUSLIMS CAN COMMITTE EVIL!.. Because they are Human.. Isreal is only an enemy as long its a rouge state... making trouble and opressing an entire people.

THere Is no god, BUT GOD
and Adam was his First Messenger
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