Monday, August 27, 2012

Fighting for unity

In december 2011, Tareq Azim, co-founder of Hope of Mother, visited Afghanistan, where he offered free Brazilian Jiu-jitsu instruction to some NATO coalition military. “It was a good demonstration of how sports like Brazilian Jiu-jitsu can bring different people together, create teams and establish loyalties”, said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Chris Colley, who attended the training.

Tareq Azim (wearing black) gives Brazilian Jiu-jitsu instruction, 
at U.S. Camp Eggers Base, in Kabul.
Photo by Senior Airman Kat Lynn Justen/U.S. Air Force

Professional boxer in the United States, and Ultimate Fighting Championship trainer for contender Jake Shields, Tareq Azim also used his stay in Afghanistan to meet with students of regional sports programs he has been developing throughout the country.

Anything in the world is available, anything is possible. My biggest sports philosophy is empowerment”, said Tareq Azim. “I truly believe that sports are an alternative tool for reconciliation – there is a contract of peace in sports.”

Photo by Senior Airman Kat Lynn Justen, U.S. Air Force
Mina Wali's son, Tareq was born in 1979, in Germany, where the family, fleeing from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, enjoyed refugee status. In 1983, Azim family moved to San Francisco (USA), where Tareq began to devote himself to martial arts. In 2004, he visited his home country for the first time.

“My grandfather was commanding general of Bagram Air Force Base, the first fighter-jet pilot and senior in command of the Afghan Air Force during the reign of the monarchy”, he said. “That internal legacy drove me back to service for this nation the way that he did. He did it through military, and I’ll do it through sportsmanship.”

Afghan-American UFC trainer spreads empowerment through unity, NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan, 22/12/2011

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