Dr Hany El Banna, President of Islamic Relief, was invited to speak at a convention held by the Islamic Medical Association of South Africa (IMASA) in Johannesburg on the 26th to 29th April 2003.
This year’s conference focused on the theme of ‘Islamic Rehabilitation and Relief’. Representatives from all over the world came together to discuss their approach to medical relief work.
Guests at this year's conference, which focused on ‘Islamic Rehabilitation and Relief’
As guest of honour, Dr Hany opened the IMASA convention by addressing the role of the humanitarian worker. Speaking about the duty of each and every person to help the less fortunate, he stressed that “the priority of our service should go to the poor, the homeless, the unattended sick, and others neglected by society.” He also highlighted the importance of actively involving as many people as possible in raising awareness of social concerns.
A series of presentations then followed. A hushed silence fell over the room as slide images of shocking injuries, violence and agony crossed the screen. Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan…crises which have flooded the world’s news pressed their undistorted reality upon the audience, moving some people to tears.
The dangers of medical relief work in war-torn areas were brought home when it was announced that IMASA’s other guest of honour, Dr Jemilah Mahmood, President of Mercy Malaysia, was unable to attend the conference after she and a fellow doctor received bullet injuries in Iraq.
Dr Hany and the eminent Sheikh Ahmed Deedat.
While in Durban, Dr Hany had the honour of visiting the eminent Sheikh Ahmed Deedat. On behalf of Islamic Relief, Dr Hany presented Sheikh Deedat with a beautiful piece of Islamic art as a token of appreciation for his work and the inspiration he has given to Muslims across the world.
Dr Hany also spoke at the IMA Batul Nur fundraising dinner, as well as giving presentations to students and professionals in Port Shepstone and Pitermertizburg. With every group he addressed, his message was a call for unity and international cooperation in a time of global conflict. Race, colour and religion need not be divisive, he reminded the audience – the universe was created “for us all to live in, and to push forward the wheel of development and prosperity for the sake of humanity as a whole.”