Multi-Faith Walk Against Violence
Date: November 13, 2008
For Immediate Release
Multifaith Walk Against Violence
Imam Syed B.
Soharwardy is the first Muslim to walk from the Atlantic Ocean to the
In a statement today
Imam Soharwardy said, “During this walk, I met hundreds of Canadians. They
welcomed me into their homes and city halls, in rural
Through this walk we made a commitment that we would not be told, cajoled or threatened by those within our faiths to accept the idea that our religion justifies violence. We will not passively accept the judgment that it is “normal”, “part of the culture” and (therefore) excusable when members of other faiths become victims of abuse. Most of all, we will not dismiss any victims of violence/abuse as somehow deserving of this treatment. We are our fellow man, and to allow abuse without united protest or action diminishes us all. Violence has no place in any religion.
Now we have begun
discussions with faith leaders and representatives across
During this walk Imam Syed Soharwardy received endorsements and support from a number of faith and community leaders. Canadians from across the country sent messages of thanks and appreciation. The following are some of the comments from Canadians of different faiths.
§ The principal of Royal Military College of Canada, Dr. John Cowan wrote an Op-Ed column in the Kingston Whig-Standard in May 2008 wrote:
“….. It's hard to doubt the genuineness of
his efforts. His personal commitment has been extraordinary; he mortgaged his
home to finance the Walk Against Violence. Furthermore, he has a proven track
record in opposing violence and is the founder of Muslims Against
Terrorism………….. Every now and then since 9/11, there have been musings in the
media about why the moderate or antiviolence voices in the Muslim community
weren't louder or more explicit. Well, you couldn't get much more explicit than
Syed Soharwardy…… Soharwardy is very Canadian. He thinks and talks a lot about
his love of
Daniel Elkin of Beth Israel Congregation, in
Bob McLeod from
” The Walk" and the awareness it has created. Hope to apply the lesson it contains for our community”.
§ Rev. Frank Allen:
“Syed, I have been following your progress since walking with you for the short distance to the highway from Amherst, N.S. and I keep your task in my prayers. It seems like the support continues to grow and you remain as strong in your commitment as when I met you. Know that I think of you and the work of your group”.
Howard Voss-Altman of
“Mazal tov and
congratulations on the completion of your historic walk. It is my hope to
see Syed upon his return and to invite him to address our synagogue on a
Shabbat evening. We look forward to hearing about this extraordinary
Howard Wideman from
Iman Al Ghafari from
Rev. J. McRee (Mac) Elrod from
Laura Solvason from
Major Singh Nagra of
Mir Mumtaz Ali,
Munawar Merchant from
§ Jim Damico wrote,” Mike and I were the two cyclists that passed you on the bridge between Nipigon and Rossport. I put a link to your site on my blog WanderingTheWorld.com I know we didn't get a chance to talk but good luck and stay safe out there on the road”.
§ Patricia Brownlee, Women in Black and Women’s Multi Faith: “Blessings to Syed: You are so close to home now. Many are sending healing prayers for you. I was hoping to come and meet up in Maple Creek area of the return”.
Janzen: “Project Ploughshares
Ross Morrissey: “We live in
Rev. Tara Livingston of
Paul Armstrong from
Willemien Prinselaar from
Dedyna of Times Colonist in
Very Rev Robert Pynn of
Calgary Herald editorial board member, Naomi Lakritz wrote in her Op-Ed column,
“Where else but
One step at a time, this gentle man is doing his part ... and he is inspiring others to do the same ... Thanks for stopping by Syed ... it was good to meet you ... and it was a joy and a treat to host you and Hassaan, Yassir and Haris in my home ... Go with God !!”
§ Deborah Gyapong wrote on her blog, “…And I would like to believe he really is trying to show some leadership to the Canadian Muslim community in his vocal stand against terrorism in the name of Islam”.
§ Lloyd Mackey of CanadianChristianity.com wrote, “While he appreciated the support he has received from many Christian leaders, Soharwardy allowed that there is more building work to do”.
§ John Whidden: Congratulations on completing your walk and opening up so much positive dialogue between people of varied backgrounds. Colleen and I admire you for your tenacity and passion in revealing the true face of Islam.
For more comments and news stories about the Multifaith Walk Against Violence, please visit http://www.m-a-t.org/theimam.htm.
With respect to finances, due to financial constraints the budget for the walk was reduced significantly. However, it still costs $164,78.78. Imam Soharwardy funded this walk by re- mortgaging his family house. Ordinary Canadians and his close friends gave him some donations but he still needs to pay off $97,603.15. Imam Soharwardy is planning to pay for some of the debt by selling the motor-home.
Imam Syed Soharwardy thanks all the volunteers and their families for their help and support. He could not have completed this huge endeavour without you.
One person who deserves our deepest thanks is our communication and public relations director, Linda Zachri. Linda kept everybody informed and worked with the media and the public ensuring timely response to all the inquiries. She was the backbone of this project.
Imam Soharwardy would also like to thank the media organizations who took the time to report on this historic walk. The walk was covered by most major Canadian media sources. In addition, several Op-Ed columns were written by prominent Canadians in various newspapers and blogs. Without your support we could not have achieved our goals.
We would like to
thank all Canadians who lent us their support. Some have walked with the
walkers, or met them along the way. Some, like
Last but not least, we would like to thank all who took the trouble to write, cheer on the walkers and help to spread the word of the Multifaith Walk: you all made a difference. We thank you all.
Walk in peace,
Multi-Faith Walk Against Violence
Phone: 1-877-WALK ALL