L.A. Muslims hail Church

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — The Church's efforts in providing relief for tsunami victims was recognized during an event hastily organized by co-sponsors Islamic Relief USA and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California to raise funds for the disaster's victims on Jan. 9.

More than 1,800 people made their way to the Anaheim Hilton Hotel for the fund-raising dinner. Among the primarily Muslim group were 20 members of the Southern California Public Affairs Council from Los Angeles and Orange County.

Dr. Mohamed Abul-Magd, general manager of Islamic Relief USA, insisted on hosting two tables for LDS representatives in order to honor the Church for being partners with them in a "quick and generous response" to the disaster. Only days after the devastating tsunami, an MD-11 chartered by Islamic Relief and filled with 70 tons of emergency supplies from Church Humanitarian Services in Salt Lake City was sent to Indonesia.

Elder Randall R. Huff, Area Authority Seventy, was the only non-Muslim asked to speak.

"When I stated that, like the Muslims, we also believe that we are all brothers and sisters and children of God, there was a huge round of applause," he reported. "I said that in helping those in need we approach the divine in us."

In a video of the aftermath of the tsunami, clips of news reports showed the amount of aid and relief the Church is providing.

Elder Huff said, "My wife and I were surprised by how much credit was given to the Church in the video segments we saw."

Also speaking were consuls general and a vice consul from affected southeast Asian countries including Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. All mentioned the Church's help.