(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/5/09) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy organization is asking American Muslims and their institutions to support President Obama’s recently-announced “United We Serve” initiative, which is designed to “meet community needs and make service a way of life for all Americans.”
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is encouraging Muslim support for the president’s summer-long initiative focusing on service projects that address issues such as clean energy, education and literacy, health care access and awareness, economic recovery, disaster preparedness, and support for veterans and military families.
United We Serve will conclude on September 11, 2009, which has been designated a “National Day of Service and Remembrance.” The National Day of Service and Remembrance will both recognize the summer’s accomplishments and honor those who were killed in the 9/11 attacks.
SEE: United We Serve
CAIR is asking Muslim communities to plan new volunteer community service initiatives, to expand existing activities and to report all such efforts to its “Muslims Care” website. Muslims Care, an ongoing CAIR program, is designed to encourage volunteerism in the American Muslim community. CAIR’s initiative is being coordinated with “Muslim Americans Answer the Call,” a nationwide grass-roots campaign to mobilize American Muslims to answer the call to service.
SEE: Muslims Care “United We Serve” Project Submission Form
SEE ALSO: Muslim Americans Answer the Call
The data gathered by CAIR and Muslim Americans Answer the Call will be submitted to United We Serve for inclusion in its final report and for recognition on the National Day of Service and Remembrance. The goal is to present 1,000 community service projects to United We Serve.
“It is important that the American Muslim community demonstrates its commitment to meeting the needs of our fellow citizens by responding positively to the president’s United We Serve appeal,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Many Muslims are already volunteering in their communities. These valuable efforts need to be expanded and made known to the larger society. This is a unique opportunity for American Muslims to tell their story through service to others.”
He said small individual community service efforts, such as reading to children in a library literacy program, are as valuable as larger initiatives and should be reported.
As an example of volunteer efforts by American Muslims, Awad said CAIR recently co-sponsored a “feed the homeless” program at a Northern Virginia mosque. He asked American Muslims to focus efforts on the period of August 31 to September 6, which has been designated “Interfaith Service Week.”
Awad noted that beginning August 7, CAIR’s San Antonio, Texas, chapter and Muslim Children Education & Civic Center (MCECC) will distribute fans to low-income elderly residents. CAIR’s Cincinnati, Ohio, office has also announced its participation in a “School Supplies for Kids” project that will provide supplies for all the students at a local elementary school.
Suggested community service activities include “green mosque” programs to make mosques and other Islamic institutions more energy efficient, health screening and health fairs at mosques designed to promote public health awareness and prevention, food and blood donation drives, feeding the homeless and needy at Ramadan fast-breaking meals, and individual and group tutoring and literacy initiatives by Muslim professionals for youth and adults. CAIR is also asking American Muslims to build coalitions with others carrying out positive volunteer community service projects in their communities.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org