MUSLIMS THINK BEYOND EMERGENCY RELIEF
- In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful
ALERT: MAS INITIATES "BEYOND EMERGENCY RELIEF" CAMPAIGN TO ASSIST
HURRICANE EVACUEES IN BATON ROUGE
masfreedom @ aol.com
September 28, 2005
MAS Freedom Foundation, Washington, DC
Tel.: (202) 496-1288
(WASHINGTON, DC) - The Muslim American Society Houston Chapter, which
is operating a hurricane relief command center in the city, states
that there are over 100 Muslim families who have been displaced due to
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and are in dire need of services in Baton
Rouge, LA, where relief efforts, in some cases, have been scaled down.
In launching its "Beyond Emergency Relief" Campaign, which assists
families in transitioning from temporary emergency relief to progress
towards permanent resettlement, MAS Houston is attempting to assist
Muslim families in Baton Rouge by initiating the nationwide appeal in
order for communities to raise funds this Friday and over the weekend
in order to provide:
- School assistance (supplies, tuition, clothes, registration fees,
- Apartment rental assistance, at $500.00 per month per family.
- Shopping gift cards, $200.00 per family (Wal-Mart) or other discount
- Trucks loaded with basic necessities - need $10,000 for supplies and
- Funding to provide Iftar (meal at the breaking of fasting) for
evacuees and families at local Baton Rouge area Masjids -
MAS Houston has pledged to raise $5,000 as seed money for these needs
during and after prayers in local mosques. The total cost for this
project is between $120,000 to $150,000.
We, at MAS, respectfully request that Masjids nationwide collect money
for Muslim families in Baton Rouge.
Muslims may also help by sponsoring families interested in relocating
by sponsoring such families for a few months until they are able to
establish themselves in their new communities.
As time advances, relief bureaucracy for assistance becomes more
cumbersome and people begin to be less committed in providing
assistance on a long-term basis. MAS initially recognized that relief
efforts related to Katrina had to be lasting and sustainable. As such,
MAS committed to provide sustained assistance for all victims through
MAS's "Boots On The Ground" volunteers, medical corps and call for
ethical reconstruction of communities destroyed by Katrina and Rita.
"Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Publicly Thanks MAS for Its
Leadership and Rapid Response to Victims of Hurricane Katrina"
"MAS Freedom Calls For Ethical Reconstruction, Fair Employment and
Economic Opportunities for Hurricane Katrina Victims"
MAS continues to assist all hurricane victims regardless of faith,
race or national origin. However, MAS received an urgent request to
aid Muslim families and felt obligated to respond immediately. Do not
let these families slip through the cracks. Please help us assist them
today. Once again, please make a special collection this Friday at
Checks can be made payable to "Muslim American Society-Houston
Hurricane Fund" and be sent to 6210 Highway 6 South Houston, TX 77083.
No cuts for Israel funding after Katrina
Israel aid unscathed in GOP group's proposal
Funding for Israel would remain untouched in cuts
proposed by conservative Republicans in the wake of
Funding for Egypt, Africa, the AIDS initiative and the
Peace Corps would take hits under a Republican Study
Committee document, obtained by JTA, that breaks down
offsets into several categories, including foreign
aid. Israel is the single largest recipient of U.S.
aid, receiving more than $2.5 billion a year, but is
not on the list for cuts.
Egypt, the second biggest recipient with $1.8 billion
a year, would lose $12 million in 2006 and $400
million over the next five years, according to the
proposal, because its "democratic development has been
extremely limited and its human rights record remains
poor," according to the document prepared by Rep. Mike
Pence (R-Ind.), the chairman of RSC, an 86-member
conservative caucus in the House of Representatives.
Remember the victims of Sabra and Shatila
Sunday Independent (South Africa)
September 18, 2005
On September 16 1982 right-wing Lebanese Christian militias allied
with Israel entered the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in
The sounds of gunfire echoed throughout the densely packed,
impoverished area. For three days, members of the Phalange militia
went on a murder spree, butchering babies and the elderly, raping and
killing women and murdering unarmed men and boys.
I read a story of a mother whose baby's throat was slit in front of
her - she was told by some members of the militia that she would not
be killed because the scene she had just witnessed would kill her.
The exact number of victims will never be known, and reports on the
final death toll do not include those still unaccounted for, buried in
mass graves or carted away by militiamen, never to be seen again.
The world was shocked by images of corpses piled up in alleys and
heaped in doorways. While the world remembers the victims of the
September 11 2001 attacks on New York, who remembers the thousands of
victims of the atrocities at Sabra and Shatila?
The Katrina Pledge goes to Congress
by Jim Wallis
September 23, 2005
The Katrina Pledge which circulated in SojoMail and the following
letter from Jim Wallis were sent to every senator and representative
to tell them of your commitment to go beyond immediate relief and
address lasting social change.
Dear Senator or Representative:
The stunning images from New Orleans and the battered Gulf Coast
revealed that we have failed the poorest in our nation, but we now
have an opportunity to recover their trust and recapture part of the
American spirit. As one of our nation's political leaders, you have
the ability to lead in that effort.
Poverty is no longer out of public sight. We have all seen the
pictures of those who were left behind in Hurricane Katrina because
they had been left out in America. And we pray for those who may face
a similar fate as Hurricane Rita approaches Texas. What was hidden and
mostly invisible is now flashing across our television screens. Our
collective silence has been broken and the media have begun to talk
about poor people and tell their stories more than any time in years.
There are no longer any excuses for not knowing or caring.
It is time to move from sound bites to sound vision; from debates to
dialogue; from rhetoric to results. For some time now, religious
leaders from across the theological and political spectrum have been
standing together against poverty. Even before the current disaster,
we have been learning to set aside other differences to lift up a
vision for compassion and justice for those our nation and world has
forgotten, the ones that Jesus called "the least of these." There is
now a deep convergence among religious leaders, including conservative
evangelicals; Catholic bishops; mainline Protestants; black, Hispanic,
and Asian Christians; Jewish rabbis; Muslim imams, and many others.
Our voice is growing stronger, but political action by national
leaders is now needed to honor our nation's moral convictions.
This is a historic moment and a unique opportunity for our country.
Hurricane waters are washing away our national denial of just how many
Americans are living in poverty and of the persistent connection
between race and poverty in America. Just as we must assist those in
dire need and begin the process of recovery, those actions must be
accompanied by longer term commitments. But making a difference for
poor families will not fit within the usual approaches to poverty.
Leaders from all sectors of society must acknowledge that a
combination of public and private initiatives will be required to help
the less fortunate. It will require changes in culture as much as
changes in policy.
There are two obstacles to making real progress against poverty - the
lack of priority and the lack of agreement on strategy. The poor have
been near the bottom of our priority list, if on the list at all. It
will take a moral and even religious imperative to change our
priorities but the time has come to do so. But we have also been
paralyzed by the debate between liberals and conservatives on
solutions, with the right favoring cultural changes and the left
endorsing policy changes.
First, the critical needs of poor families must become the top
priority of our government. The blatant inequalities of race in
America, especially in critical areas of education, jobs, health care,
and housing that have come to the surface must now be addressed. How
we help families build assets and take responsibility for their
futures must be central to the discussion. All this requires a change
in political logic. Indeed, a new moral logic must reshape our
Second, each "side" of our political landscape ignores too many valid
concerns of the other side. Poor families don't need us to take sides
- they need us to stand in the gap with them. Much could be
accomplished with a merging of personal and social responsibility, a
commitment to reverse family breakdown, a more honest assessment of
both the personal decisions and social systems that trap people in
poverty. That involves being more creative than looking solely to
charity or only to government for hope. We need to acknowledge that
budgets are moral documents and budget priorities can help or hurt the
poor - and acknowledge that negative family and cultural values deeply
impact low-income people. We must all confront realities of our
national, community, and personal priorities, recognizing that there
are multiple breakdowns of culture, family, community, and government
that are undermining poor families and the very fabric of our nation.
Doing so requires that leaders who care about results start to look at
the current situation and the future differently.
Indeed we must be disciplined by results when it comes to poverty
reduction. It's time to move from the politics of blame to a politics
of solutions. Liberals must start talking about the problems of
out-of-wedlock births and strengthening both marriage and parenting.
Conservatives must start talking about strategic public investments in
education, health care, affordable housing, and living family incomes.
We must focus on making work really work for low-income families.
Those who work hard and full time in America should not have to raise
their children in poverty - but many still do. Together, we must end
the debate between large and small government and forge a common
commitment to good and effective government. I hope you agree that now
is the time to do so.
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