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Mosques open doors to victims of devastating flooding in Texas

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 2, 2017 | Last Updated: 4 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Sep 2, 2017 | Last Updated: 4 years ago

NEW YORK: The 250,000-strong Muslim community in the US State of Texas has welcomed people affected by devastating Hurricane Harvey into its mosques as the storm continues to bring heavy rainfall in the southeast, according to American media reports.

“Look, helping is a total no-brainer. You don’t even have to discuss or debate it,” M.J. Khan, a Pakistani-American who is the president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, told reporters in Houston.

Khan, who started to load up on fans, towels and bedding last weekend as the rain began to fall, said, “It’s part of our faith and part of being human. I always feel that this is why God created human beings: for us to help each other.”

He assured that people, who take shelter in the mosques “will not be disturbed, they will not be displaced, they will not be moved.”

Shaizad Chatriwala, the director of the Islamic center in Stafford, Texas, which is providing a 24-hour refuge that has been providing people with hot food and clothes, told CNN that donations kept pouring in as word spread on social media about the mosque turning into a shelter.

Another mosque in the city of Beaumont – the Islamic Society of Triplex – started to offer food and volunteer medical care to the neighbours, according to Amna Ahmed, a member of the mosque.

The members of the mosque — even though many of them had to evacuate their homes south of Houston — delivered meals to an estimated 500 people at the city’s two emergency shelters on Thursdays night, Ms. Ahmed said.

A non-Muslim American woman, who took shelter in the Champions mosque’s gym said, “Muslims are just like any other type of person. They’re caring, loving, giving people.”

“I feel very fortunate that they were open and willing to come and have this space,” AP quoted Katherine McCusker as saying.

Many other Americans, who were being housed in mosques, have also taken to social media, saying that they enjoyed the Muslim tradition of hospitality.

Muslim activist Saira Siddiqui, who is a student in social justice, said the disaster provided an “an opportunity for us to simply get to know one another. And that is what will bring about long-term change.”

The storm made landfall last Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in over five decades. It has since been downgraded to a tropical depression as it heads to the Texas inland and parts of neighboring Louisiana.

Some 779,000 Texans have been told to leave their homes and another 980,000 fled voluntarily amid dangers of new flooding from swollen rivers and reservoirs. So far, at least 44 people were dead or feared dead, according to Texas officials. – APP

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