Muslim community effort gives homeless a hand - IRUSA

Muslim community effort gives homeless a hand

The Baltimore Examiner

October 16, 2006

by Napoleon Martinez

BALTIMORE – A national effort by 16 major cities nationwide assisted thousands of people who are homeless as part of Humanitarian Day on Saturday.

Baltimore’s Wilson Street was lined with tables with more than 50 volunteers providing 250 homeless people with necessities.

“We don’t want people to come get their food and leave,” said Karim Amin, who coordinated the event for Masjid Ul-Haqq, a mosque created in 1959, which hosted the event with Islamic Relief, the organization behind the nationwide event.

“We want to teach them to fish, so to speak. This is a launching pad for them.”

Islamic Relief provides emergency relief during disasters, but turned to domestic relief two years ago, Amin said.

The group also was delivering kits, which include blankets, clothes, toiletries and food, to the YMCA, the YWCA and local shelters such as Our Daily Bread, he said.

Volunteers included students from local colleges and the Islamic Community School.

“It’s our duty. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a day of Ramadan than doing this,” said Ibrahim Zuberi, 24, a member of the Muslim Student Association at UMBC.

“Ramadan is a month of fasting for Muslims. Part of being a Muslim is remembering what God has given us, but also thinking about others,” Amin said.

The Baltimore City Health Department brought a clinic on wheels where HIV and syphilis screenings were conducted.

“Baltimore City is No. 4 in the country for HIV and No. 3 for STDs,” Public Health Investigator Abdul Jamaal said. “We give them an incentive to get tested, the only thing they have to do is show up.”

Jamaal said they would screen about 35 people and give them “a call back card” to get their results in two weeks. If they need further medical attention, the Baltimore City Health Department will treat them at one of their clinics for free.

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