ISGH President Dr. Aziz Siddiqi at the Holocaust Museum
Holocaust Museum Houston invited the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) President Dr. Aziz Siddiqi at the opening reception of the Photographic Exhibition called â€œBesa: Muslims Who Saved Jews During the Holocaust in Albaniaâ€. This Exhibition shows Heart-Melting Kindness and Righteous Determination of Muslim Heroes, who saved Jews during the Holocaust. The Exhibition started on July 17, 2009 and runs through to February 7, 2010.
After his welcoming remarks, Michael Goldberg, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Holocaust Museum, requested ISGH President Dr. Aziz Siddiqi to speak to the invited guests. Dr. Siddiqi welcomed the opportunity to talk to the guests and acknowledged a strong presence of Muslims in the exhibit reception.
Dr. Aziz Siddiqi said that throughout the Islamic history Muslims have always provided protection to the oppressed. Whenever persecution was carried out against Jews whether it was in Spain, Albania or anywhere else, Muslims were in the forefront to save the lives of innocent Jews. He also cited other examples of Muslims helping Non-Muslims from persecution in other parts of the world. He said, â€œMuslims practice what they preachâ€ and quoted the Ayah (Verse) of Quran: â€œâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.And whoever saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the entire peopleâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..â€ Holy Quran, Chapter 005 Verse 032.
This Photographic Exhibition â€œBesa: Muslims Who Saved Jews During the Holocaust Albaniaâ€, depicts about this European country with a Muslim majority, that succeeded where other European nations failed in dealing with Nazi Germany. Almost all Jews living within Albanian borders during the German occupation â€“ those of Albanian origin and refugees alike â€“ were saved. In a five-year project, Colorado-based photographer Norman Gershman set out to collect the names of righteous, non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust. He discovered that some of the names were of Albanian Muslims. He then began a quest to meet and photograph the Albanian rescuers or their descendents. During his interviews, when he asked why they had rescued Jews, the resounding response was â€œBesaâ€ the code of honor deeply rooted in Albanian culture and incorporated in the faith of Albanian Muslims. As Gershman later would explain, â€œThere was no government conspiracy, no underground railroad, no organized resistance of any kind – only individual Albanians, acting alone, to save the lives of people whose lives were in immediate danger. My portraits of these people, and their stories, are meant to reflect their humanity, their dignity, their religious and moral convictions, and their quiet courage.â€
Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public. It is located in Houstonâ€™s Museum District at 5401 Caroline Street, Houston, Texas 77004. For more information about the Museum, visit www.hmh.org or call 713-942-8000.
The New Muslim Cool at ICNA Relief Iftar-&-Dinner
Hamza PÃ©rez, famously known as The New Muslim Cool, was the keynote presenter, who in a most emotional and motivational manner informed about the immense need and significance of humanitarian work at grassroots level in America, in which ICNA Relief is at the forefront. Present on the occasion were Ayub Badat, National Director of ICNA Relief; Haseeb Abdali, President of ICNA Houston; Saad Ansari, Director of ICNA Relief Texas; Dr. Aziz Siddiqi, President ISGH; Jaime Mujahid Fletcher, Founder & President of Islam in Spanish; Hashim Badat, Vice-President ISGH; Iqbal Badat Vice-President Pakistani-American Association of Greater Houston (PAGH); and many others. A slide show of all the nationwide projects of ICNA Relief was presented with remarks by Ayub Badat.
ICNA Relief is one of the largest humanitarian services organizations of the Muslims, working solely in USA. At present in Baton Rouge Louisiana and Houston-Galveston Texas, ICNA Relief has received federal grants to provide services to those, who got affected by Hurricane Ike.
The major human and social services work of ICNA Relief at the domestic level in USA is being done only through the assistance provided by the Muslim Community of USA. It includes Emergency Financial Assistance (rent & utility bills assistance; family support; hunger prevention; immigration support and funeral services), Women Temporary Shelter Homes; Domestic Disaster Relief; Medical Clinics; Educational programs; and so on.
For more information and contributions, one can visit: www.ICNARelief.ORg
Rooftop Films has screened Jennifer Maytorena Taylorâ€™s film New Muslim Cool, which chronicles the personal journey of Puerto-Rican American rapper Hamza PÃ©rez. He ended life as a drug dealer 12 years ago, and started down a new path as a young Muslim. Now heâ€™s moved to Pittsburghâ€™s tough North Side to start a new religious community, rebuild his shattered family, and take his message of faith to other young people through his uncompromising music as part of the hip-hop duo M-Team. But when the FBI raided his mosque, Hamza confronted the realities of the Post-9/11 world.