American Muslims and Katrina


In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

Friday September 2, 2005 was “Hurricane Relief Day” at mosques across the country, and Muslims were encouraged to collect money for Katrina’s victims. I mentioned the need to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina in my sermon that day, and I gave some money to the relief effort at my mosque. Other mosques did the same thing, and it was a wonderful thing about which to read.

On September 4, 2005, a coalition of major Muslim organizations announced their pledge to raise $10 million for the relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. According to a press release issued by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR):

“The coalition also announced the formation of a Muslim Hurricane Relief Task Force (MHRTF) to coordinate the aid effort. MHRTF members include (in alphabetical order) Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North American (ICNA), Islamic Relief, ISNA, Kind Hearts, Life for Relief and Development, Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and Muslim Ummah of North American (MUNA).”

More than $2 million has already been dispatched by Islamic charities, and Muslim relief workers are currently working on the ground in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. In fact, Karen Hughes, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, expressed the appreciation of the Bush Administration to American Muslims for their support of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Allahu akbar (God is the greatest).

Why am I mentioning all of this?

A frequent – and legitimate – criticism of the media is that it does not report the good news about a great many things, and that includes Islam and Muslims. Whenever a Muslim blows something up, it makes the front pages. Yet, if a Muslim helps an old lady across the street, for example, it probably will never make even the back page of the newspaper. Not fair, perhaps, but true nonetheless. Although some media outlets have picked up this story, it has not gotten the attention it deserves, and thus I thought it appropriate to take some time out to showcase the good that Muslims are doing in response to the disastrous Hurricane Katrina.

Moreover, I have also been fiercely criticized by many for my being too harsh on the Muslim community, for my being quick to point out its faults for all to see. I do not apologize for this. As I have said many times before, we can never fix our problems if we do not know what they are in the first place. Still, I can understand my critics’ point, and thus, this blog post. I plan on posting similar ones in the future, God willing. It is as important as pointing out what is wrong with Muslims today, and I sincerely thank each of my critics for helping me understand this better.

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