HMD2006_PROGRAM REPORT_012606

 

 

 

 

NOTE: WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF COMPLETING THIS REPORT, AND WILL UPDATE WITH THE SPEECHES OF THE GUESTS
OPENING

Dear Friends,

Peace, Shalom, Salaam, Namaste, Jai Jinendra, Sat Sri Akaal, Allah Abho, Hamazor Hama Ashobed, Jai Swami Narayan, Yali Madad and God bless you. All these greetings simply mean that I acknowledge and respect your presence. I sincerely hope, in the next few years, we would have outgrown our cocoons and would be able to use any of the above greetings interchangeably with any one. The essence of the greeting is that the greeter wishes well to the greeted.

Tonite, our focus is on the Holocaust, in particular reference to the attempted annihilation of Jewish people because of their faith. 6 Million Jews were massacred because of their faith. The whole world stood by and did nothing until after the genocide of a 3rd of the Jewish People….I would paraphrase Einstein’s wisdom: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ It is the silence of good people that is responsible for the evil more so than the people who do bad things. I hope each one of you at the end of the program, would walk out with a feeling that “I” must stand for justice and the least I would do is to speak. Never again, I would remain silent when I see an atrocity”

 

Tragically we have seen more recent genocides and mass murders following the Holocaust. The list is quite large.  Much of this could have been averted, had the good people acted in time. To make sure we do not forget to mention any name, I would request all of us to follow a minute’s silence and I would urge each one of you to remember each one of the incidents and pray for the victims of such atrocities….

 

This event brings a closure in my life… when I was a little boy, my devout Muslim Mother took away the book from me about Holocaust, and asked me to read when I have the capacity to bear the suffering… I don’t know how many of you are chickens, I was one for many years… could not bear the sight of suffering when I saw the documentaries… of Holocaust. Finally, God has helped to me see it, feel it and gave me the guts to say Never again.

UN RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I request Beth Weems Pirtle, President of the United Nations Association Dallas Chapter to share a portion of the UN Resolution with us.  It is also found in your program booklet.

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly Sixtieth session |Agenda item 72 |05-48796 | 60/7. Holocaust remembrance

Honouring the courage and dedication shown by the soldiers who liberated the concentration camps,

Reaffirming that the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people, along with countless members of other minorities, will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice.

1. Resolves that the United Nations will designate 27 January as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust;

2. Urges Member States to develop educational programmes that will inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide, and in this context commends the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research;

3. Rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full or part;

4. Commends those States which have actively engaged in preserving those sites that served as Nazi death camps, concentration camps, forced labour camps and prisons during the Holocaust;

5. Condemns without reserve all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, wherever they occur;

6. Requests the Secretary-General to establish a programme of outreach on the subject of the “Holocaust and the United Nations” as well as measures to mobilize civil society for Holocaust remembrance and education, in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide; to report to the General Assembly on the establishment of this programme within six months from the date of the adoption of the present resolution; and to report thereafter on the implementation of the programme at its sixty-third session.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Please allow me to acknowledge the following and due to the nature of the event, I request you to hold the applause and appreciate them in your hearts and minds.

-          Hon. Rosalie & William Schiff who have come to share their experience with us.

-          Our guest speakers are Beth Pirtle, Imam Zia Shaikh, Len Ellis and Harriet Gross

-          Volunteers: We appreciate the volunteers Denise Mayoff, Anjum Anwar, Ashar Ahmed, Carli Johnson-Scott, Arvi Gallardo, Jazzie Ghouse and Najma Ghouse.                                                                                                                    Nikhat Qureshi of Bridges TV with the Schiff's

-          Facility Staff: We appreciate the help from the staff of FunAsia –Dr. Farrukh Hamid, Shabnam Modgil, Sunny Singh

-          Services: We acknowledge the services of  our Professional Videographer Fida Hussain, Photographer Aftab Lakhani, and Nadeem Randhawa, Imran Randhawa and Nikhat Qureshi of Bridges TV and Jay Gormley of CBS-11 TV. And also Jay Rafi who made our name badges.

-          Media: We appreciate Dallas Morning News, Texas Jewish Post, Ek Nazar, DFW International, Diya Magazine and others who have informed the public about the event.

-          Financial: Friends, this event was made possible by the help of a few friends. I called 10, and each one of them jumped at it.  They believed in commemorating the event, they believed in doing the right thing…I am proud of them, each one of them. Let me ask them to stand up as I call their name, please hold the applause till the last name:  Zulfi Ahmed, Anjum Anwar, Dr. Nauman Anwar, Shiraz Badruddin, Shawn Bhagat, Rafi and Shahnaz Farukhi, Dr. Mohammad Khalid, Nadir MeherAli, Mohammad Iqbal Shariff and Basit Siddqui

                                                                                     Bridges TV with Imam Sheikh Zia ul Haq

Nikhat Qureshi of Bridges TV Bernie Mayoff

-          It takes a few courageous men and women to step up and do the right thing. Their work has long term effects and hope in some distant future, their efforts will make a dent and benefit the whole humanity. But spiritually it is very rewarding for them. Please honor and appreciate these two great individuals whenever you have a chance to meet them :  Rabbi Robert Haas and Bernie Mayoff.  Who are the moral pillars of this event.

WISDOM OF THE RELIGIONS

Now let’s begin the program with a verse from each faith based on the theme “Whoever saves one life, saves the entire world”The Talmud – Perhaps you have noticed, everything is done in alphabetical order…

Regina Rafraf – Bahá’í

Bahai: "It is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest."     (Baha'u'llah)

Rev Esther Vasquez filling in for Rev. Mark Hernandez, Christian

Its from the Book of Romans, Chapter 5, verse 18:

"Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men."

 

 

Mike Ghouse, filling in for Swami Nityananda Prabhu – Hindu

Vasudeva Kutambam - The whole world is one family - Bhagvad Gita

Mohamed Eliabiary – Islam

It's the 2nd verse (chapter 5, verse 32).

32. On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.

 

Purveen Shah - Jainism

"Parasparopagraho Jivaanaam" means "Living beings (souls) render services to one another" or in short "Live and let live."

 

Leon Levin – Judaism

"That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary."
 
called the Babylonian, ca. 60 BCE
 

Mike Ghouse filling in for Sardar Harbhajan Singh - Sikh

 

Ratan Vakil – Zoroastrian

Ushtā ahmāi yahmāi ushtā kahmāichit

Vasē-khshayãs Mazdāo dāyāt Ahurō
utayūiti tevīshī gat tōi vasemī

Ashem deredyāi tat mōi dāo Ārmaitē
rāyō ashish Vanghēush gaēm Mananghō.

                                                                                                         … Yasna 43.1

May the Wise, Ruling-at-will God (Ahurā Mazdā) grant radiant happiness to the person who radiates happiness to any other person.  I pray for steadfast strength and courage in order to uphold righteousness.  Through serenity grant me the blessings of a rich life of good mind.

 

THE BEAUTIFUL BUS

Each community, each nation and each faith is like a beautiful bus; when you plan to go some where, you make sure all its tires have the same amount of air pressure for it to run effectively, to give better mileage, lasting tire wear out..... all the mechanical parts must be greased, all the parts must be checked for a safe, stable and sure journey.

We need to work together to ensure that every one is on par to ride the road of progress, we need to fill the tire if it is inadequate instead of asking the tire to fill it itself. Whose loss is it if the tire does not fill it itself? We have to help the communities that are at a disadvantage, we need to bring them for a well balance smooth functioning society. Ignoring one tire or a community is an irresponsible thing for the bus journey.

Each one of us needs to be the 'source' of goodwill to bring that equilibrium. You and I are not safe if the world around isn't.  All change begins with you and me. And I pledge that whatever I do, I will do it to bind people together, and would be a source of good will.

It is the responsibility of each one in the world to make a better world, each day we need to ask ourselves, what have we done today to make the world a better place today?

RABBI ROBERT HAAS

Now I request my friend, Rabbi Robert Haas to introduce our honored Keynote Speaker.  The Rabbi and I have known each other for the last three years. He and I did a Radio program called “Wisdom of Religion – all the beautiful religions” once a month, early in the morning!  Rabbi Haas is one of the most knowledgeable persons I have known at his age.  He is truly a gentleman and a scholar.  He imparted great knowledge about Judaism to our listeners in Dallas for nearly two years.

Born in McAllen, Texas, Rabbi Robert Haas attended the University of Texas and received a B.S. in Education.  After serving as a public school teacher in Houston, he entered rabbinical school and was ordained in the first Reform Rabbinical Class on the West Coast in 2002.  Rabbi Haas is currently the Associate Rabbi at Temple Shalom in Dallas. 

HON. ROSALIE & WILLIAM SCHIFF

ONE MORE QUESTION !

HARRIET GROSS

Harriett read the following poem:

REFUGEE BLUES, written in 1939 by W. H. Auden

Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you'll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew:
Old passports can't do that, my dear, old passports can't do that.

The consul banged the table and said,
'If you've got no passport  you're officially dead':
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go today, my dear, but where shall we go today?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said:
'If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread':
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying 'They must die':
O we were in his mind, my dear, O we were in his mind.

Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren't German Jews, my dear, but they weren't German Jews.

Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren't the human race, my dear, they weren't the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.
                                      *************************
W.H. Auden was an English poet and dramatist, born in 1907.  He was a
student at Oxford when his first poems were published.  In the late
1920s he was living in Berlin and saw the rise of Hitler; in 1939 --
the year he wrote this poem -- he left Europe for America.  And in this
country, Auden met Chester Kallman, the Jewish man who became his
lifelong companion. Until his death in 1973, Auden kept publishing
poetry and drama; increasingly, his subject was the isolation of man.

 

IMAM SHEIKH ZIA-UL-HAQ

Now, I’m pleased to introduce you to my new friend, Imam Zia Shaikh, his address at the recent Friendship Among Faiths program was wonderful, he picked up the conversation from where Rabbi Paul Steinberg began and carried on beautifully.

Sheikh Zia Ul Haq was born in Pakistan. At the age of 4, he moved to England where he was engaged in regular education until the age of 13. He then enrolled in Full Time Islamic education. Initially, he memorized the entire Qur'an and then undertook an Islamic Theologian (Aalim) course which spanned a further Eight years. Aalim course included Arabic language, Usool, Fiqh, Tafseer-ul-Quran and Hadith.

He graduated in 1994 and has been serving various communities as an Imam since then, initially in England, and since the end of 1995 in the USA.  Masters in Arabic and Islamic Theology. Here is Imam Zia Sheikh;

We may have heard the phrase "History repeats itself". However, when we discuss terrible things that have happened historically, we often wish history didn't repeat itself.

When we look at wars, genocide, tyranny and all other forms of oppression, we can deduce that all of these calamities happen because of the human not being able to control his base desires. These heinous crimes that have been committed over and over again in history, happen because of the innate human nature that is found in all of us, that if we don't control, can make us worse than animals. A verse from the Quran is most appropriate at this juncture:

095.004 We have indeed created man in the best of moulds,

095.005 Then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low,-

095.006 Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have a reward unfailing.

(meaning that humans can reach peaks in goodness and in evil; when one does righteous deeds, he can be the best of the best, but if one does evil deeds, he can become worse than an animal).

 Humans, when they don't control themselves, can become the victims of their own weaknesses. Biases, prejudices, racism, arrogance are such weaknesses, which lead to oppression, tyranny, genocide and murder.

Sometimes, when the human falls prey to these weaknesses, he consoles himself by putting various cloaks of righteousness over the tyrannies that he is committing, committing the evil in the guise of patriotism, protection, or security.

It was Hitler himself who fooled the Germans into believing that they were the "Aryan master race", and that the Jews were threatening their very existence by mixing with the Aryans. According to Hitler, the Jews were conspiring to obliterate them. These claims, however outlandish they seem today, were bought by the people of the time, and they fell prey to Hitler's propaganda. History tells us that they believed in what the Fuhrer was telling them, and subsequently went along with his Anti-Semitic ideals, resulting in one of the greatest catastrophes in history.

If we take a lesson from history, we will learn that we cannot fool ourselves by this kind of self-consolation. However noble our goals may be, we must learn that murder is murder, genocide is genocide, tyranny is tyranny, and evil is evil. Then and only then will we decide, as humans, that there should never be another holocaust, another Hiroshima, another Nagasaki, another Bosnia, another Kosovo, another Rwanda, and another 9-11, and all of the other catastrophes that have happened at the hands of humans.

If we learn anything from history, it must be that sometimes, we must not let history repeat itself.

Thank you Imam Zia.

LEN ELLIS

......and when they came for me.

German Pastor Martin Niemöller was a supporter of the Nazis in their earliest days.  By 1934 he recognized that a sinister power was growing and he began to express his dismay.  There were not enough voices like his early enough.  By 1939 he was imprisoned.  He survived the Sachsenhausen concentration camp outide Berlin where 100,000 people died or were murdered in violent “medical: experiments.  He survived the Dachau concentration camp near Munich where camp records list 30,000 people exterminated in death chambers and thousands more dead from ill treatment.  In 1946, following the end of the war, he wrote:

They came first for the Communists,

and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,

and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,

and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Hope you have found this event to be meaningful and found a purpose in life. Please allow me to introduce my friend ….Bernard Mayoff, we call him Bernie.

BERNIE MAYOFF

This has been an amazing evening.  Rosalie and William will be here for a while after the program to answer questions.  There is a Jewish prayer that is said at Jewish holidays, at celebrations and at special occasions.  It gives thanks that we have been blessed to be alive to reach the event.

It isn’t appropriate to say a prayer of gratitude that we are all together for a commemoration reminding us of the worst of man’s inhumanity to man.  And yet this is a remarkable gathering together tonight of people taking one of those important steps toward making the world a better place for us today and for those who follow us.  I’m sure you feel your own sense of reverence of the moment and that it is something that will stay with each of us.  Now we are all witnesses.  Never forget that each of us can make a difference.

For those of you that are Oprah fans, you know that her latest book club selection is Night, by Elie Weisel, about his experience as an inmate in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and that Oprah is visiting Auschwitz next month with Elie.  Also, I want to mention that at 2:00pm on April 23, at Thanksgiving Square, there will be an event recognizing Yom Ha’Shoah.  That is about a week after Passsover that has become a traditional time for commemorating the Holocaust.  You are all welcome to that event which is expected to feature a national speaker on lessons learned and lessons still to learn.  That event is being coordinated by the Dallas Holocaust Museum who loaned the photographs that were on display in the lobby this evening.  The Museum is temporarily located at the southern end of the West End and you’re all encouraged to visit there.  Brochures will be on table.

Thank you for being here tonight.  Have a safe journey home.  Shalom.  Salaam.  Sayonara. Ciao.  Good night.  God Bless

VISITING THE SCHIFF'S

ESTEEMED GUESTS

REGISTRATION

RECEPTION

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