Islamic Relief CEO Honored

November 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

CEO of Islamic Relief USA Appointed to U.S. State Department Working Group

Abed Ayoub, CEO of Islamic Relief USA, has been appointed to the U.S. State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group to help inform U.S. policy.

Along with the other members, Ayoub will take part in dialogue and provide input on relevant topics including the challenges and opportunities for partnership. The group also will identify model action programs or projects for collaboration between the U.S. government and NGOs.

“We feel honored to be in this group, working with diverse leaders,” Ayoub said. “As a humanitarian organization, we can bring a lot to the table. Unfortunately, most of the disasters in the world are in the Muslim world, and we’re hoping that we can maximize the benefits going to the beneficiaries by being in this group.”

The Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group is divided into sub-groups. Ayoub will serve on the Sub-Group on Faith-Based Groups and Development and Humanitarian Assistance, which examines faith-based organizations’ challenges, opportunities and resources in addressing societal needs for such assistance. This forum also will work to ensure NGOs’ freedom to operate and deliver humanitarian aid.

Other members of the Development and Humanitarian Assistance sub-group include Richard Stearns, President/CEO of World Vision; Carolyn Woo, CEO of Catholic Relief Services; David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World; and Ruth Messinger, President of American Jewish World Service.

Muslims distribute meat to soup kitchens Muslims across North America reached out to the needy by organizing meat drives for the soup kitchens. These are part of the larger celebrations of Eid ul Adha.

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz joined Turkish Cultural Center Brooklyn and other supporting organizations at Brooklyn Borough Hall to distribute more than 700 pounds of packaged beef to food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the borough.

In New Brunswick, Canada, too the small Muslim community donated  more than 350 pounds of ground beef and stew beef to the  Fredericton Community Kitchen.

“We’re just overwhelmed by the generosity of this community to help us,” said Cheryl Mercer, who’s the bookkeeper for the kitchen.

“It means that we’re going to be able to put food on the table, good quality beef that arrived,” she said, estimating it will produce about 600 meals.

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Arab American Muslims, Christians–Relief to Haiti

January 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Arab Detroit, Ameera David

DEARBORN,Mich.–Just a day after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, the death toll was already estimated at over 1,000 people. Today, only a week later, that toll is thought to stand at 200,000—a number inclining with each passing hour.

Now, in the wake of such a disaster, a host of global organizations are contributing to relief. Joining those ranks are Arab American Muslims and Christians, who from a national to local level are stepping up to the plate and helping in unprecedented ways.

Immediately following the incident, Islamic charity Zakat mobilized as many as 50 volunteers to distribute high-need commodities. The charity, founded and directed by Khalid Demir, has pledged over $50,000 dollars in hygiene products, medical supplies, and hot cooked meals.

Demir himself just returned from a trip to Haiti in hopes of better facilitating the relief but was troubled by the amount of people who still hadn’t received any medical attention or food. “With severely overcrowded streets, there is chaos. These are people who haven’t eaten in over a week” he says.

Other Muslim organizations such as Helping Hands (based largely in Detroit) and Islamic Relief of USA have also dived in to help— both by sending in representatives to assess the calamity as well as by pledging over $1 million dollars in goods and services.

Helping Hands is currently negotiating the start of an efficient medical base clinic in Port-au-Prince. There, they will equip the center with sizeable medical provisions while also contracting quality physicians from the US and abroad into Haiti for treatment.

Umbrella organizations representing America’s Arab Christian population have also taken a stand in supporting the Haitian earthquake survivors.

Arab Melkite and Maronite Catholic Eparchies have opened special collections in their respective churches which will go directly to the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an organization with a $25 million commitment to relief.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), representative of America’s 300 plus Arabic Orthodox churches, will provide over $170,000 in relief.

Thus far, they have airlifted water purification equipment to accommodate 10,000 people as well as enough tents to lodge 500 families. Not to mention opening a campaign for donors to both finance and assemble “Hygiene Kits” complete with soap, towels, toothbrushes, and band aids.

Amal Morcos, IOCC Communications Director, is pleased to be afforded this opportunity to help. She says, “Faith based organizations play a very important role in humanitarian aid. They should uphold certain values in representing the religion and its followers— demonstrating that they care about all people regardless of their faith.”

Also showing compassion is the Michigan Food and Beverage Association, an umbrella organization which encompasses hundreds of Arab owned restaurants and stores in and around the metro-Detroit area.

The association, founded by Syrian American Edward Deeb, hopes to rally member businesses to contribute monetarily as well as with food products, with the goal of giving $2 million or more in aid.

“They don’t have enough food, enough water, or enough medical supplies. There are 1.5 million people, and they need our help” says Deeb.

While donations are surfacing mostly though large, pre-established organizations, there are also many individual Arab Americans finding creative ways to help.

Just this week, Lebanese American, Reem Sater, has initiated a fundraiser which will support Architecture for Humanity, an organization that works on reconstruction and the building of a sustainable infrastructure that can withstand earthquakes in the future.

Almost immediately after the earthquake hit, Sater thought of ways to activate the younger generation, “I didn’t see anyone from our age group organizing any relief efforts, and I felt like we had a responsibility just as anyone else to assist those in need.”

Taking place at a Ferndale lounge, each $20 donation made to the relief organization will include a drink of the person’s choice. The event promises to attract more than 200 guests and raise $5,000 in proceeds.

With recurring aftershock earthquakes and new problems developing, Haiti holds an uncertain future; however, while the true devastation remains to be seen, Arab Americans are stepping in, actively responding with open hearts and little hesitation.

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