state of mich

SE Michigan News, Vol. 8 Iss. 47

November 16, 2006 by  


BUC: Dr. Robert Simon Introduces IMC (International Medical Corps)

Bloomfield–November 10–The immense and immensely effective organization IMC (International Medical Corps) conducted a presentation at the Bloomfield Unity Center on Friday evening.

Dr. Robert Simon, the founder and chairman of IMC, introduced his organization to a rapt audience of about 30 doctors and other concerned Muslims at the Bloomfield Unity Center on Friday night.

IMC does work that is similar to that of the well-respected organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF-Doctors without Borders); it is a first-responder organization that takes on the task of rebuilding lives torn apart by war–and starts its work as soon as possible after the war begins, having entered immediately into Lebanon when the Israeli-Hezbollah fight broke out, immediately into Iraq even before the invasion began, and having worked extensively in Afghanistan during the height of the Soviet conflict.

IMC focuses on providing aid to create medical infrastructure by intensively training first-responder field medics, rebuilding existing medical clinics by supplying them with free medical supplies under a rigorous system designed to ensure that there is no corruption in the supplying of medicines and treatment to patients, and by providing a fleet of first-responder clinical buses that provide treatment directly on the scene of attacks as soon as hostilities end.

Mr. Simon was celebrated by the late Ronald Reagan as one of the 10 people most responsible for the downfall of the Soviet Union, on the basis that during the war in Afghanistan Dr. Simon used his knowledge of hospital-building and training to build a series of clinics in Afghanistan to serve those injured during the Soviet occupation, and took pictures of the victims of the terrible atrocities committed by the Soviet army including their use of mustard gas against children–Simon’s pictures of these atrocities outraged the US congressmen and provided the impetus for their hard-fought proxy war that brought about the downfall of the Soviets, which in turn emboldened the Soviet republics starting with Poland to break away and causing the centrifugal splintering of the USSR.

Until today the clinics originally established by Siman and the people trained by IMC treat approximately 1.1 million people a year in that country.

IMC is not as famous as MSF largely because Simon does not put his people on the ground while bombs are falling while journalists are looking to take pictures. He takes great pride from the fact that to date, despite IMC’s deep penetration in every war zone in the world, not a single IMC expatriate employee has been killed or injured while on assignment; unfortunately MSF has not been so lucky.

This success comes at a price mainly incurred in preventive planning and excellent security–IMC employs retired people from the US military as its own security experts, and takes security the security of its 6,000 employees and volunteers very seriously, which enables it to provide the care that war victims need on the ground.

IMC leverages the money given to it by efficiently seeking grants from governments and large NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) at a ratio of about 15:1–therefore the “seed money” of private donations given to IMC goes exponentially beyond what a donor might expect.

IMC has extremely high rankings from associations that evaluate charities on the basis of their effectiveness, including an A+ (the highest available) ranking from the American Institute of Philanthropy.

Dr. Simon explains that he is actually proudest of one carefully prepared ranking: that from Worth magazine, a magazine written for the extremely wealthy and extremely discerning investor–Worth prepared two detailed year-long analyses of charities and listed IMC among the top 100 among 18,000 charities.

If you are interested in giving to IMC, you can contact them at www.imcworldwide.org, or at 310-826-7800, or by fax at 310-442-6622. The address is 1919 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste. 300, Santa Monica, CA 90404-1950.

Fall Food Drive / Tawheed Center

The “Fall Food Drive” was organized by engineers from GM-Muslims. In the early 90’s a few Muslim Engineers started an “Adopt a Family” program to help the needy during Ramadan and that has now blossomed into an annual full-fledged event encompassing the greater metro area. 15 Islamic centers, mosques and communities come together donating time, money and resources. The project has grown steadily with more and more people coming forward to participate by raising funds for deserving families.

Tawheed Center, in Farmington Hills, was a major participant in this project along with GM employed Muslims. Muslim employees of other Auto companies, auto part suppliers, area hospitals also took part.

This year, the group helped 554 families, affecting 3000 people, throughout SE Michigan by donating food boxes with over 100 pounds of non-perishable food items. Items ranged from Cookies, Crackers, Pancake mix, Tuna, Breakfast cereals, Fruit and Vegetable cans, Peanut butter, Ketchup, Jam, Rice bags to cooking oil gallon jars. The group collected and spent over $42,000 with virtually no overhead.

The project coordinator, Mr. Osman Habib, an Engineer at GM who has been involved with this project since its inception, mentioned that “thousands of families live in deprived conditions in this area struggling to obtain the basic necessities of life. In Ramadan, fasting Muslims empathize with the pain and suffering caused by Poverty and Hunger and hence by providing these food boxes, we are trying to alleviate this adversity to a certain extent”.

Braving an unusually cold and bitter morning hundreds of volunteer gathered at Sam’s Club on Northwestern Highway in Farmington Hills and took over the loading dock for packing. The volunteers came from all walks of life and from an area spanning Ann Arbor to Flint. They represented a number of ethnic groups and countries from around the globe. On that day the Sam’s club loading dock was no different than the UN General Assembly floor during its annual session. Little girls bedecked in pretty clothes and matching scarves jostled for space and matched the enthusiasm of the teenagers and the grownups every step of the way. 6-7 year old kids were seen running and prancing around making boxes and arranging food packs in them using the assembly line concept. Suha Syed, a 6th grader from West Bloomfield said “I have been coming here for the past 4 years and look forward to it every year. It is not only a fun event for me but also an opportunity to do something for the poor. I also always make new friends here”. Men, Women and kids worked on packing the boxes and loading them onto six trucks from morning till late afternoon. They did not let fasting fatigue them or aging joints diminish their drive.

Later on the volunteers drove trucks to various soup kitchens, mosques, social services organizations and Islamic Centers in the Tri county area to deliver. The mission for the year concluded when the volunteers unloaded the boxes at twenty different locations to be later distributed to the families who had pre- registered to receive them.

For more information about this event or any other projects, please contact Farook Ahmed (248) 743 1096, Asim Khan (248) 615 9214 or Osman Habib (248) 752 8246661 6268.

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