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Date: May 5th 2002--October 21 2002
25th of Safar 1423--16th of Shaban 1423


I hope this finds you in the best of health and spirit. Ameen. The following will keep you up to date on which way we are heading.

The local office for the Greater Washington, DC. Area was started on the 10th of Feb. 2002. The first and the second meeting was based on discussions within the group in initiating and selecting activities that will better suit our needs. We made contact with Fairfax County's various departments such as The Department of Family Services and Department of Housing, who were very helpful in providing us with details and sending us representatives so we could understand the different areas where we could volunteer.
In it's very initial stage MWC also took part in a collection of blankets for the Afghan Refugees with Masjid Mustafa. We were able to send 7 big cartons of warm blankets on a short notice.
In collaboration with the headquarters in NJ our members took part in the drive for the collection of medicines etc.. We faced some difficulties, but learnt where we needed improvement.
So far since it's birth, the local office of MWC for The Greater Washington, DC Area has had five meetings. Two of which were spent on Interfaith Meetings. (Details follow.)
We look forward to the future with anticipation of fulfilling the needs of the community at large.
(Details follow.)

Interfaith Activities:

A Day of Prayers:
By the Grace and Mercy of God we launched our very first (all women's) Interfaith Meeting called 'A Day of Prayers' on the 14th of April 2002. This was attended by many faith traditions. Among the many Christian denominations (Presbyterians, Methodist, Christian Scientists and Catholics), we also had Jewish, Sikhs, Hindu, Buddhists and Native Americans along with the support of many Muslims.
The gathering was blessed by the recitation of surah Al Fatiha. Opening remarks were made by Uzma Farooq with a moment of silence for peace. Sister Shanaz lead the group into zikr and Sara read a poem from the sufi book "Angels Unveiled." Nino
sang her Sikh prayer while Diane Sherwood of Interfaith Conference Washington, DC. lead everyone into a powerful spiritual prayer of Love form the Catholic faith tradition. The Buddhist chanting were heartfelt and the Hindu prayer said by Punam was on peace and unity, which was the theme of the day. Sister Rabiyah spoke eloquently as a Native American Muslim and we all listened to the beautiful prayer songs she had brought along. Colleen said the Lords Prayer and we all ended with a powerful moment of silence. We dedicated the day to the women who bring hope and harmony to mankind. The Peace Lantern which is one of the five that have been sent around the world to light peace candles was brought by Eleanor Kibrick.
Some high School students were also present.

Many positive things/experiences came forth after our first IF meeting. MWC has been receiving many thankyou notes from the attendees. We have made new friends and we are grateful to Allah swt for making it possible. Colleen followed up with a request. She and Leila met me at Masjid Mustafa on the 3rd of May 2002 and observed the Jumma prayers. Leila is doing research paper on 'spirituality in different faiths.' We had a follow up discussion and they both showed interest in coming to a Sufi gathering to attend zikr.

Mehreen, Asma and I attended the lecture (by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, DC.) on Monday, April 29, 7.30,PM at Gaston Hall, Georgetown University. The topic was "Living Our Faith After 9/11: Challenges and Opportunities."
There will be a contest for students to enter ...with a $1000 toward scholarship to whoever wins this contest. Papers are due May 20th.
The lecture was very impressive.

Second Interfaith Meeting:
This took place on the 15th of September 2002. It was again called a 'Day of Prayers.' The theme was based on 'Peace and Harmony.' Friends of many faith tradition paid tribute to the victims of 9/11. We also remembered the survivors that witnessed this great human tragedy first hand. Prayers were said for the suffering of the children and their families of the victims of 9/11.
This day was also dedicated to the many who were not able to join us such as Diane Sherwood of Interfaith Conference of Washington, DC. who had cancer. She was an inspiration to us from our first IF meeting. Her message to mankind was to join hands in an era of friendship between all faith traditions.
Tabassum gave a very moving talk on her faith (Islam) from the perspective of her late father...what he had taught her about tolerance and kindness to others by reading the underlined verses of the Quran that he had left her. Colleen read the prayers of saint Frances Assisi and Noreen read the Buddhist hymn. Sarah Ismael read a poem that she had written. Uzma and Rachida read poems from Khalil Gibran. Further talk on the commonalties of the concept of 'Peace and Harmony' present in all faith tradition was emphasized.
The meeting ended with the lighting of the candles and a very moving moment of silence that was bonded in love for humanity.

MWC is invited to give a talk on Nov 1, 2002 by The national Church Women United organization that has chosen for the theme of this year's World Community Day celebration "Daughters of Abraham: Called to Peace."

We are also invited to plan and attend for a breakfast meeting in the Presbyterian Women of the National Capital Presbytery. Every year in January they have a Prayer Breakfast.
Between 100 and 200 women come to the breakfast.

MWC has attended many conferences such as one on PEACE by the Life Foundation in Va., and the first in series of 'Abraham Summit' in Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington DC..

Out reach program:
On the 10th of May 2002, I met with Dorothy Keenan at Lee Center, in Alexandria (off of Rt 1). She is a supervisor of senior services of Fairfax County Department of Community and Recreation Services in VA. The goal of MWC was to help her make connection with the Pakistani community of Rt 1. I am happy to report that she was very warmly received and I think inshaAllah there is a great possibility for us to provide volunteer services and assistance in the future.

Assisting the elders through Fairfax County:
Margaret Anderson (Department of Family Services) has sent me forms to fill out in our volunteer program with elders. This is in regard to delivering ENSURE to those who are home bound. Margaret says to let her know once the forms are mailed. She will make note of it. Please contact her at:
Margaret. Anderson@fairfax
Tell her you are a MWC member and mention my name as point of reference.
Delivering ENSURE is once a month and can be done with friends'/husbands on the day of yoru choice.

Current issues at hand:

We have been helping a new muslim by sending her reading materials and clothing etc.

Sarah is starting a Book Reading project with young adults so we have to form an outline for that.

We are still at our initial stage and have to set our feet in the system so to speak so have a long way to go. With His Mercy and Love we can InshaAllah be a voice for others in need.

Uzma Farooq
Local Office For The Greater Washintgon, DC. Area.



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