Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A gift of peace over lunch ...

Today for lunch The Brandon Rotary Club hosted Syed Soharwardy as their guest speaker. Syed along with Hassaan, Yasir, and Haris, came and shared reflections on his journey and answered some questions from the assembled group.

Along the way he commented that he believes that:

- we live in a very blessed country with strong feelings of meaning and harmony no matter where you are, and that Canadians have been blessed by God/Allah with understanding, tolerance and a caring acceptance of others, even those who are different

- we live in a great nation

- the greatest cause of violence is the simple lack of communication - between parents, between parents and children, and between people

- that if we are to have an end to violence we must begin with peace in our home that comes from peace in our hearts, and the peace in our homes will create peace in our communities, and peace in our communities will create peace in our world - between nations and people, and it all depends upon peace in our hearts

- the biggest single cause of violence in our world is ignorance and ILLITERACY - he noted that many in our world act from hate because they are unable to experience the fullness of life offered through literacy ... I commented to a fellow Rotarian that Syed's view fits well with the emphasis of Rotary International on Literacy ...

In the tradition of sharing a meal - a custom that unites all of humanity - Syed and his team came and sat at table with The Brandon Rotary Club and shared his experiences, and offered his wisdom and humour, and continued on his walk westward - promoting the cause of non-violence with each step.

And I for one am glad that along the way he stopped long enough to form a new friendship - one I will cherish ... I wished the men well on their journey and left them with the offer of a place to stay if they happen back this way again ... I hope they do ...

In the meantime - for more on Syed, and his journey and the cause of Stopping Violence - check out some of the links below:

The CBC story that started this ALL (click here)

The web page of the Multi-faith walk against violence (click here)

The web page of Syed's group Muslims against Terrorism (click here)


shawn said...

The following comment was posted in the wrong posting slot ... I thought I should bring it forward:

anonymous wrote:
Needless to say, I absolutely appreciate this great movement of walk against violence. Violence is a curse all over the world and any effort to finish it would be welcomed.

I only don't want people to use such a great cause as a publicity stunt. Mr. Syed Soharwardy, who talks much about being a leading member of this movement, said that he is aiming at raising a total donation of 200K, without giving any information to the community about his spending details. So, why is he asking for such a huge amount of money? To promote an ethical value such as peace, one does not require money, least of all as much as 200K. Frankly, I've lost my trust in him and I think he is simply looking for money and fame. I'm so sick of everyone asking for money, money and money all the time!

Friday, August 15, 2008 5:30:00 PM CDT

My comment to THIS is simply this - While Syed welcomed donations, and gave information on where they could be directed, at no time in the three days he was in the Brandon area did he mention a dollar amount, nor ask specifically for a donation.

He spoke clearly and eloquently about his walk and his desire to see all of us engage in constructive conversation and action against violence.

I'm familiar with many of the other things written about Syed on the Internet, and I balance THAT with the nonsense I've had to endure and offer my personal take on him by what he is saying and doing NOW, not last week, last month, last year or five years ago ...

I have heard the criticism, and while I haven't dismissed it, I have weighed it against what I have experienced first hand ... and the Syed Soharwardy I've met is a man speaking of PEACE, and nothing more. He hasn't asked for donations or assistance, he's just expressed appreciation for the help he's received ...

Shalom, Salaam, and Peace,

Anonymous said...

Walaikum Salaam
Sorry for posting my comment at the wrong slot. Coming back to the topic ..

Don't you watch 'Visions of Pakistan' hosted by Bashir Khan (friend of Iman Soharwardy) on Cable Channel 60, Saturdays at 2.00 p.m.?

In this show it was mentioned that Soharwardy has made 'great sacrifices' for the walk, has "re-mortgaged his house" and is looking to raise $ 1 million through this walk. But no details of his spendings. My jaws dropped when I heard this because I was at a loss to understand why a walk should compel him to re-finance his house and seek a donation totalling to $1 million.

So, I sent an email to Soharwardy, appreciating his idea to walk against violence but asking him to explain why he needs $1 million when most members of the Muslim community belong to middle-class or low income groups. On receiving this email, he cleverly refuted the target of $1 million by dumping that on someone else and changed his donation target to $200K which too is a large amount. And he still didn't disclose what he intends to do with so much money. I quote his email as follows:

Quoting Soharwardy:
"Our budget is $200K for this walk, not $1million. I am not sure who told you $1M budget. If you are referring to Bashir Khan's program, then $1M target was not for walk, it was for Mr. Subhani's projects. Again, our budget is $200K. By the way, have you donated any money?"

JazekAllah Khair, thanks and peace.