(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/2/05) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on U.S. mosques and Islamic centers to offer prayers for rain in the draught-stricken African nation of Niger during this week’s Friday congregational services, or “jummah.” CAIR, a Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, is also calling on people of all faiths to offer prayers for rain according to their own religious traditions. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says drought and a locust invasion in the predominantly-Muslim nation have pushed several million people, including 800,000 children, to the edge of starvation. International donations for food supplies have been slow in coming. SEE: “Niger: Famine Warnings Unheeded” http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/08/02/earlyshow/main713303.shtml
CAIR initiated the prayer request to provide a spiritual dimension to Niger’s humanitarian crisis. The special Islamic prayer, called Salatul Istisqa (sal-AT-al-istis-KA), was performed by the Prophet Muhammad and is traditionally offered during times of drought. In Salatul Istisqa, the Prophet would offer supplications such as: “O God, give us a saving rain. . .O God, (Your) servants, land, animals, and (Your) creation are all suffering and seek protection. . .O God, remove from us the hardship, starvation and barrenness, and remove the affliction from us, as no one removes afflictions save Thee.” “We hope this nationwide spiritual effort will help bring the humanitarian crisis in Niger to the attention of people of faith and will prompt policy-makers to address the issue,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. Awad asked that churches, synagogues and other houses of worship throughout the nation join their Muslim neighbors in praying for rain and to help the people of Niger by donating generously to groups working to deliver relief supplies. For a list of organizations gathering Niger aid, go to: http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/africa/07/29/niger.aidgroups/index.html
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About
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