By ERIC CARPENTER, 2011-08-23
ANAHEIM – Leaders of the Islamic relief organization that drew protests at a fundraiser in Yorba Linda last winter say they are using some of the money raised to give back to the local community during Ramadan.
On Sunday, the Islamic Circle of North America distributed 400 backpacks filled with school supplies to local school children at the Islamic Institute of Orange County in Anaheim.
Leaders of the ICNA met with local businesses and schools to invite children in the surrounding neighborhoods who might not otherwise be able to afford school supplies to pick up a free school bag filled with notebooks, pencils erasers and rulers.
At least 90 percent of the recipients were non-Muslim, said Waqas Syed, a spokesman for ICNA’s Southern California Chapter.
“Many families are under financial pressure. Some have lost jobs and find it difficult to buy school supplies for their children,” Syed said. “Islam teaches us that a person is not a true Muslim who fills his stomach while his neighbor is hungry. So these efforts are an essential part of being a good Muslim.”
Doing acts of charity are especially important during this holy month of Ramadan, Syed said. This year, Ramadan runs from Aug. 1 to Aug. 30.
An ICNA fundraiser at the Yorba Linda Community Center in February drew hundreds of protesters, many of whom said they were opposed to two guest speakers who, they said, had previously made anti-American statements and supported groups abroad with links to terrorism.
Syed said at the time that protesters didn’t know the facts and that the ICNA had no ties to any overseas organization: “We absolutely denounce violence and terrorism.”
Instead, the backpack giveaway is exactly the kind of social-services effort for which the organization was raising money. The local backpack giveaway was part of a nationwide giveaway in which more than 15,000 children across the country received school supplies, Syed said.
Article Courtesy: The Orange County Register