American Muslims Raise Funds for Asia Quake Victims
Turkish Weekly, 10/10/05
Islamic charities in the United States have issued urgent appeals for donations to help victims of the devastating earthquake that battered South Asia, boasting prompt response.
"We've raised 100,000 dollars online in less than 24 hours," Arif Shaikh, a spokesman for the international charity Islamic Relief US branch, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The Islamic Relief, which has launched a 10 million dollar appeal, operates a health clinic in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir that has treated some 2,000 people.
Between 30,000 and 40,000 people were killed in an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale that centered on an area north of Islamabad, wiping entire towns off the map in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir and burying victims in tombs of mud and rubble, according to Pakistani and international officials.
Pakistan called it the worst disaster in its history as the casualty toll continued to rise.
Shaikh said non-governmental organizations in the United States had asked the charity to deliver donations of medicine and medical supplies to affected areas.
Islamic Relief has three full-time offices in Islamabad, Neelum Valley, and Muzaffarabad, near areas hardest hit by the disaster.
"Our staff is on the ground conducting a needs-assessment," Shaikh said.
Islamic Relief has worked in Pakistan since 1992 on emergency relief, development and disaster preparedness projects.
Its work is heavily focused on the areas that have been badly affected by the new disaster, including Muzaffarabad and Bagh where Islamic Relief has several projects.
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) said on its Web site it was donating 250,000 dollars to the relief effort and had sent the head of its relief operations to Pakistan.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the main Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, called on American Muslims and other people of conscience to help the quake victims.
"Just as Americans came together to help the victims of recent Gulf Coast hurricanes, we must do whatever we can to help those suffering from natural disasters in other parts of the world," CAIRO spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said in a press release posted on the group's Web site.
He said those wishing to help should direct contributions to the Muslim Hurricane Relief Task Force (MHRTF), a group formed by US Islamic charities after Hurricane Katrina struck the southern US coast in August.