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AMV holds 3rd Annual Interfaith
Peace Picnic in Woodland

AMV Report

More than 150 people turned at the annual interfaith picnic of the American Muslim Voice Woodland Chapter. The event was held at the Woodside Park, Woodland on July 24, 2010.Dr.Hamza ElNakhal-Mariko Yamada-F

The picnic program began with Muslim and Christian benedictions. Qari Aamir Hussain of Islamic Center Woodland recited verses from the Holy Quran. Rev. Michael Moran, the founding minister of Spiritual Life Center (SLC) and Rev. Larry Love, Pastor of Woodland Christian Church offered prayers.

(Picture shows from left:Dr. Hamza El Nakhal from Islamic Center Davis, Mariko Yamada, California Assembly Member and Khalid Saeed, National President of the AMV.)

AMV Founding Executive Director, Samina Sundas, welcomed the guests and said that in the present negative atmosphere for the Muslim community, such interfaith peace picnics are the best means to help eradicate the negativity. She added: “Through such peace picnics, the AMV provides an opportunity to our fellow Americans to know who Muslims are. What true Islam is?”  Samina urged the audience to join AMV’s Miracle Movement of Peace and Friendship under which we hold peace picnics, open houses and vigils to spread the message of peace.

As usual Muslim Community provided the free lunch to all. This was perhaps the best picnic so far, because there were more interactive activities for the participants, men, women and Children to enjoy.

American Muslim Voice owes big gratitude to Sylvina Frausto of Holy Rosary Church and Rev. Kathy McIntosh Smith of the Presbyterian Church who worked very hard. They were instrumental in providing a lot of fun, music and games. Rev. Kathy McIntosh Smith who was onsite event activity coordinator and with the help of Sir Bruce volunteer extraordnaire also of Presbyterian Church brought in so many interactive games and kept the fun going all afternoon.

Sylvina Frausto helped a lot with preplanning the event.  Her son Chuy is a drummer in Ted & Norah Vega’s very popular local band. This very popular local “Ted Vega Band” volunteered and made it so lively and fun and entertain the picnic audience during the whole event. Sylvina’s daughter Claudia Coons  who lives in Bay Area was the official face painter of the event and specially came to Woodland to support this interfaith activity.

Special thanks to former Mayor David Flory, Rev. Norman Callaway, Rev. Larry Love, Rev. Bill Schroeder, Rev. Gene Crumley and Durriya Syed President Interfaith Bureau Sacramento for their help and support for the success of the event. KS with Mayor David Flory

Mariko Yamada, the Democratic Assembly member for California’s 8th Assembly District, comprised of portions of Solano and Yolo counties and the cities of Benicia, Davis, Dixon, Fairfield, Rio Vista, Suisun City, Vacaville, West Sacramento, Winters, and Woodland was the guest  of honor who appreciated the community efforts to get together to create peace and harmony among all American.

(Khalid Saeed with former Woodland Mayor David Flory)

A very special thanks to the Daily Democrat of Woodland. Editor Jim Smith, and his wife Penny also attended the picnic. It may be pointed out that the AMV received many phone calls and much more response about the picnic due to  extensive projection in the Daily Democrat.

From the Muslim Community special thanks go to Mohammad Usman Sadiq, Zahoor Ahmad, Qari Aamir Hussain, Riaz Ahmad and Abrar Ali for their efforts and coordination of the event.

Rev. Michael Moran honored

The AMV took the opportunity to honor some people for their dedicated interfaith and community work. Rev. Michael Moran, the founding minister of Spiritual Life Center (SLC) an Interfaith Unity Ministry, was given Father Louie Vitale Interfaith Award. The AMV Communications Director, Abdus Sattar Ghazali, presented this award to Rev. Moran.Awards-5

In its citation the AMV said that Rev Moran has paved a path of spiritual understanding, strengthening the bonds of love through interfaith work, and dedicated his life to the promotion of peace through collaboration of community  and shall therefore be recognized for such excellence by the foundation trustees through this award.

In 1998, Rev. Michael Moran and his late wife Rev. Faith Moran founded Spiritual Life Center (SLC) as a way to honor and respect the many paths to God through spiritual education and cooperative community service projects. The Moran’s believed that education was the key to dispelling misunderstandings and fostering respect between the many faith communities. Interfaith classes are regularly offered to the Sacramento region taught by well known religious leaders such as Imam Azeez who will be leading the class on Islam this October. These classes offer a basic understanding of each faith tradition and offer participants an opportunity to ask direct questions of the faith leader instead of relying on misleading hearsay. Spiritual Life Center also sponsored the first interfaith build of a Habit for Humanity House. For one year Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhist, and Hindus worked side by side creating a home for a Russian immigrant family. 

Imam Metwalli Amer honored Rev. Faith Moran with the Salam Bridge Builders Award when she was forced to retire because of health issues. Within days of the 9-11 tragedy Faith Moran arranged for the children of SLC to meet with the Muslim children as a way to reassure them that we are all one family. This initial contact led to a fruitful relationship between the two communities and other interfaith groups as well. Rev. Faith died in 2008 and Celebration of Life Service was an interfaith event in Sacramento attended by over a thousand people of all faiths. 

Today Rev. Michal Moran and Rev Christine Bouten, an ordained Interfaith Minister, share the roles of Senior Ministers as Spiritual Life Center continues its mission to build trust and understanding between various religious communities. Their motto is “There will never be peace on Earth until there is peace among our world religions.”

Award for Mayer Zahid 

Mayer Zahid, a student majoring in Managerial Economics at University of California Davis, was given Unity in Diversity Award for his interfaith activities since middle school days. Dr. Hamza El Nakhal from Islamic Center Davis presented the award to Mayer Zahid.Award for Mayer Zahid

The AMV citation for Mayer Zahid said he has set forth on a path of distinguished community service, evidenced by his commitment to organizing young men and women around causes that transcend race, religion, or other bias and shall therefore be recognized for such excellence by the foundation trustees through this award.

At present Mayer Zahid is serving as the President of the American River College Muslim Student Association. In his capacity as the MSA president, he is working with different religious organizations to do events and spread the word of peace and understanding between the different beliefs. The greatest event he helped lead and put together was " I-Slam for Haiti", which was a interfaith initiative to raise money for the victims of the devastating Haiti earth quake. The MSA worked with the International Student Association, Islamic Relief, Muslim American Society Sacramento, Vietnam Veterans Still Remembered, SALAM, ISB Interfaith Service Bureau, Congregation Beth Shalom, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This event showed the diversity is a strength, that event raised $15,000 and united the community. Also he is on the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Academy of Muslim Youth, and has helped put interfaith youth activity's together to help create a sense of understanding and friendship between youth of different faiths at a young age.Awards-2

Abrar Ali honored

Abrar Ali, an active member of the Woodland Muslim community and the Woodland Islamic Center was given community service award from the Woodland Islamic Center for his volunteer services for the community. Abrar Ali  is a musician and a recording engineer who owns his own recording studio. Mariko Yamada, the Democratic Assembly member for California’s 8th Assembly District gave the award to Abrar Ali.

It was a great picnic

After the event, the AMV President Khalid Saeed received many comments that were very appreciative and encouraging for its peace efforts through interfaith.

CA Assembly Member, Yamada, Mariko wrote: Thank you, Khalid, for all your efforts, esp. now I know you are living across-the-river.  Our work knows no boundaries until we bring peace to ourselves and our world. 

Sylvina Frausto of Holy Rosary Church wrote: “I thank you soooooo much for starting these efforts in our community many years ago at the Mosque site celebrations. We need to bring these things out to the open to really overcome differences and make a better community and a better world for generations to come. It was great for my two kids to have this opportunity to give back to the community.”

Kathy McIntosh-Smith of Presbyterian said: We had fun, and loved the lunch.  Thanks for the pictures, too.  They're great! We prayed for your community in church this morning.  We treasure the friendship.

Appreciating the AMV’s peace and harmony creating efforts, Rev. Norman Callaway of St. John’s Church wrote regarding peace activity of Quakers presence at the picnic:  “…we got the United Nations flag displayed, our easel poster seen, we renewed friendships with some people and made new friends with others.  Thanks for that.”

Durriya Syed, President Interfaith Bureau Sacramento, described the event a great picnic. “We had a great time and thank you for considering these very well deserving people for the awards.”

AMV president Khalid Saeed said the American Muslim Voice owes its gratitude to Sylvina Frausto of Holy Rosary church and Rev. Kathy McIntosh Smith of the Presbyterian Church who worked very hard and were instrumental in providing a lot of fun, music and games. "I think this was the best picnic so far, because there were more interactive activities for the participants, men, women and children to enjoy."

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