To honor the victims, their families and unsung first respondent heroes of 9/11, the American Muslim Voice Foundation along with Multifaith groups and community organizations held a candle light vigil, “Light the Night for Peace and Friendship” on Sept. 11, at Lafayette Park , SE Quadrant (in front of the White House) in Washington DC .
The event included an Iftar (breaking of the Ramadan fast) as the commemoration fell during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Attendees enjoyed traditional Pakistani Iftar which included dates, samosa, pakorahs, chicken roll sandwich, water and granola bar for desert. This was the first time that American Muslims have gathered in front of the White House to commemorate and honor the victims of Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
In the opening comments Samina Sundas stated that we are glad that eight years later President Obama is asking all Americans to continue to honor the victims and heroes of that day through the first federally recognized September 11National Day of Service and Remembrance.
American Muslim Voice is urging all Americans to honor the victims and families of 9/11 by transforming that day into a peace and friendship day. Fostering friendships and building peace in loving memory of those who lost their lives, injured, and those who rose in service following the attacks will forever keep them alive.
AMV is committed to its quest for peace and friendship. 9/11 created a culture of despair, division and violence among all of us. We will replace it with the culture of hope, inclusion and peace by working side by side. Together we can create a world we would be proud to leave behind for our future generations! "We must do something so this kind of tragedy will never happen to another family again," Samina Sundas, the founding Executive Director of the AMV told the gathering. "The best thing we can do is to get to know each other so we can create peace in our world."
The American Muslim Voice is seeking global partnerships for its “Miracle Movement of Peace and Friendship." We are encouraging all Americans and global communities to join hands with us as we walk on the path Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. paved for us. We strongly believe that in order to build peace and a beloved community, we must shatter all barriers, get to know each other by nurturing old friendships and sowing the seeds of new ones, so we can build a peaceful, inclusive and beloved world.
We salute”September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows” for their dedication and commitment to work towards creating peace. We extend our deepest condolences and prayers to them.Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Nihad Awad lead the evening prayer at the "Light the Night for Peace and Friendship" event.
Commenting on the vigil, FOX News said: “Eight years ago, many Americans lashed out at those who followed the Muslim faith, blaming them all for the attacks on September 11, 2001. Since the attacks, much has been done by many Muslims to distance themselves from the radicals responsible for the attacks. Friday night's vigil was one more way to show their Muslim faith is one of kindness and love.”
The event was given wide coverage in the mainstream press, which included CBS, NPR and many local and ethnic media. Washington Post displayed five photos of the 9/11 anniversary from New York , ground zero and from Washington , official White House ceremony. The Post included AMV’s Vigil photo in its selection of five. In its photo gallery the Post showed 24 photos starting with President Obama and ended with last four photos from the AMV event “Light the Night for Peace and Friendship.”
The speakers at the vigil included: Anne M. Mulderry from September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows; Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director of Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations; Rev. Dr. David Ensign, pastor, Clarendon Presbyterian Church, Arlington, VA, and Christian Peace Witness; Rizwan Jaka, Board Member, ADAMS CENTER and Samina Sundas, Founding Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice.
Bill Galvin, National Committee of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship was also present. His children lost their uncle on Sept. 11- who worked in the World Trade Center. Many young members from the audience shared their vision of peace and how we can achieve it.
A message from Terry Rockefeller, Sister of Laura Rockefeller, who lost her life in the North Tower WTC, was read by Joan Stallard of Code Pink. Personal message sent from John and Bev Titus, Parents of Alicia N. Titus, September 11th Victim, UAL Flight 175 was read by Amal Saeed. A poem by Alicia Titus was read by Rebecca Cataldi. (Continued on next page)