(CHICAGO, IL, 9/4/05) - A coalition of major American Islamic groups meeting at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in Chicago today announced a pledge to raise $10 million in humanitarian relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The coalition also announced the formation of a Muslim Hurricane Relief Task Force (MHRTF) to coordinate the aid effort. MHRTF members include (in alphabetical order) Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North American (ICNA), Islamic Relief, ISNA, Kind Hearts, Life for Relief and Development, Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and Muslim Ummah of North American (MUNA).
Other groups who agree to the task force's guidelines will be added as the relief efforts develop. MHRTF guidelines for collection and distribution of funds will focus on financial transparency and accountability as set forth in relevant government regulations and standards. No proselytizing of hurricane victims will be allowed by any member of the task force.
"It is a national and Islamic obligation to assist one's neighbors when they are in need," said ISNA Secretary General Sayyid Syeed. "The Muslim community pledges to do its part in helping those Americans, of all faiths, who suffered such great losses in lives and property."
Syeed said MHRTF will announce a comprehensive list of Muslim relief groups that promise to adhere to the task force's guidelines.
The initial MHRTF action plan includes an assessment of the humanitarian needs that can be met by American Muslim financial and human resources, as well as a similar assessment of the Islamic community's ability to meet those needs.
More than $2 million in hurricane aid has already been disbursed by Islamic charities. Muslim relief workers are currently on the ground in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Other task force efforts will focus on evaluating the material and spiritual requirements of Gulf Coast Muslims.
There are an estimated seven million Muslims in the United States.
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