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Dallas mosque feeds the hungry at a 'Day of Dignity'

Dallas-mosque-feeds-needyThrough its Beacon of Light community center, Masjid al Islam mosque in southeast Dallas serves more than 15,000 free meals per year, mostly to non-Muslims.

By Bryan Kay, The Christian Science Monitor

Not even the recent furlough of federal workers was enough to snuff out the latest community outreach effort of Masjid al Islam mosque in Dallas.

On a weekend in early October, the mosque was participating in a national initiative known as the Day of Dignity, an annual event during which mosques feed, clothe, and equip people living in poverty. But federal workers who had been scheduled to attend to speak about the details of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) healthcare legislation had been forced to cancel because of a partial federal government shutdown.

It was a blow to the mosque's boosters, says Muhammad Abdul-Jami, treasurer of Masjid al Islam and coordinator of the Day of Dignity event. But it didn't deter them from pursuing the same purpose they have had for the last several years, he says: aiding homeless people who are living right under the eyes of mosque attendees.

Masjid al Islam is in an area where the homeless are a ubiquitous sight. The Anti-Poverty Coalition of Greater Dallas point to statistics showing that 23 percent of people living in Dallas County have incomes under the federal poverty line – compared with 17 percent across the state of Texas and 14.3 percent nationally.

Because of the great need every weekend the mosque seeks to do what the Day of Dignity event, organized in conjunction with the national charity Islamic Relief USA, does on an annual basis. Through its Beacon of Light community center, Masjid al Islam feeds approximately 300 individuals in need on Saturdays and Sundays each week, Mr. Abdul-Jami estimates. That’s more than 15,000 meals per year, paid for with donations from individuals and other mosques and served by volunteers, he says. (Read more)

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