Milton’s Muslim community gathered at the Islamic Community Centre- Milton (ICCM) for a fundraiser to help the Rohingya people Sunday December 17. The event was organized by the Muslim Children of North America (MCNA).
MCNA is a school organized by the Islamic Sisters of North America (ISNA). They operate two schools for children under 12 years old at Milton District High School (MDHS), and Craig Keilburger Secondary School (CKSS). “We just explained about the charity stuff; that we help one another,” Farhat Shahid explained. The kids began canvassing their relatives, and neighbours for donations and sold tickets. The fundraiser was sold out.
The three-hour event was divided into two sections. The first session featured speeches from children on charity. Azia Bisma, a student at the CKSS led off the speakers describing the acts of charity according to the Prophet Muhammad. “The best act of charity is the one, which, will benefit people,” she told the crowd. She described everything from a kind word or a smile to removing an obstacle in the public path.
The second section focused on the charity itself. It was organized under the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Relief banner. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority from the state of Rakhine in Myanmar. The Rohingya were forced to flee the country for Bangladesh due to persecution.
Anwar Arkani is a Rohingya, who now lives in Kitchener. He visited the area a few weeks ago, and says the situation has improved somewhat over what it was. “Even now I won’t be able to describe the horror, the conditions the families are living, the kids are living, and the time they are spending day and night. It’s absolutely indescribable as a human being,” he said. The camps need everything from wells to medical care. The need is endless,” Arkani said. There are now 27 aid agencies operating in the area.
ICNA Relief Canada Executive Director Shaukat Hussain visited the area. He told a story of a 90-year old man who’d walked for kilometres for his food pack. He was so grateful that he hugged Hussain. He described the situation in the refugee camps as a misery. “I saw kids lying on plastic sheets full of water.” One day he arrived at a camp and noticed high water levels due to rain. “Instead of the stuff, we had to rescue the people,” he explained. Approximately 5,000 tents were affected. “If we do not respond to their needs, we incur the wrath of God,” he said.
Volunteers were on-hand with plastic containers to collect spare change. There were official pledge forms listing items such as supporting a widow, or dig wells. To donate online visit: www.icna.ca/donate
Photos by: Rick Di Lorenzo