Some Friday nights, the line at the fish fry at the Clara Muhammad School
in Liberty City goes right around the block, as people wait for the $7
plates of fried yellow tail or red snapper.

The school sells up to 125 plates each week at what’s become a community
happening. And that’s not counting the barbecue and jerk chicken sandwiches.

”It was like going to eat at a long-lost family member’s house,” said
Kaseem Smith, who was taking a stroll when he smelled fish being cooked and
then followed his nose. ”The people were open and warm and did not speak
to me like a stranger.”

It really is a family event, said Afrah J. Hamin, acting director of the
school, 5245 NW Seventh Ave. ”Everybody comes out to help.”

The fish fry is a fundraiser for Clara Muhammad, the only black Muslim
school in South Florida.

And while the school enjoys the neighborhood attention, the fish fry and
other fundraising efforts have not generated enough money to pull it out of
a financial hole created by the small enrollment and low tuition fees.

Its efforts so far have netted about $20,000 toward a yearly budget of
$71,400. If a summer school and camp are added, the budget rises to

School officials had hoped that a Sept. 25 gala dinner and fundraiser for a
meeting in Miami of the Florida Conference of Muslim Americans would bring
in badly needed dollars. But uncertainty over where Hurricane Frances would
come ashore forced cancellation of the conference…


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