U.S. Mosques Call for South Asian Quake Aid

ALEX VEIGA, Associated Press, 10/9/05

LOS ANGELES – Worshippers who gathered for daily Ramadan services at mosques around the United States were urged to lend prayer and donate money to victims of the devastating earthquake that struck South Asia.

One aid group, Burbank, California-based Islamic Relief USA, managed to raise about $130,000 ([euro]107,000) from mosques around the country since the magnitude-7.7 earthquake struck early Saturday, said Mohamed Abulmagd, general manager of the group’s U.S. office.

“We are asking for about $2 million from communities here in the United States,” Abulmagd said. “It’s Ramadan and people go to the mosque every night for prayer, so a lot of mosques are calling the community to respond and these (donations) are sent directly to us.”

The group has issued a worldwide appeal to the Islamic community to raise $10 million ([euro] 8.23 million) for victims of the temblor, which rocked parts of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. So far, authorities say more than 20,000 people were killed.

Many Pakistanis in the United States have had trouble reaching anyone in the rural areas of Pakistan where most of the damage appears to have occurred and can only wait for word about loved ones, Abulmagd said.

“We don’t know anyone who has a confirmed loss,” Abulmagd said, referring to his Southern California-based staff. “But we’re sure there will be because this toll is very high.”

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations on Sunday also urged people to help relief groups.

“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,” Ibrahim Hooper, the group’s spokesman, said in a statement.


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