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Outreach

07 22 20
 

FEMA Partnership Day 2020 goes virtual

FEMA commended by the Church of Scientology Disaster Response for featuring many faith disaster response and relief organizations
We are honored to work side by side with FEMA and with other National VOAD member organizations to help survivors” — Rev. Susan Taylor, National Director, CSDR
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07 3 20
 

Transition home offers solutions for women with no place else to go

Muna had only been in the U.S. for a few years when she and her husband decided to separate. A refugee from Iraq, Muna spoke little English. Other than her children, she had no family in the country and had never lived on her own before. “Where can I go?” she thought.

She called the International Rescue Committee and they recommended a women’s transition house. The house, run by ICNA Relief, an Islamic charity organization, had strict rules. But Muna was glad to find a safe place to stay, and one with an Islamic environment.

In a quiet neighborhood in East Plano, the ICNA transition house provides a roof — and stability — for women who have no other place to go. It’s open to women of all faiths and does not promote any religious beliefs. But it also addresses the unique needs of Muslim women, which ICNA Relief’s leadership says is not the case in other area shelters.

Clients face a wide range of circumstances. Some have experienced chronic homelessness, while others, like Muna, have left their husbands and have no work experience. Former residents say the home helped them become independent and confident. Muna and another client agreed to speak with The Dallas Morning News on the condition that only their first names be used for privacy reasons.

Unlike a traditional shelter, transitional housing is intended to be a long-term solution to help those experiencing homelessness gain self-sufficiency. This transition home is one of the few in North Texas that serves women experiencing homelessness.

Community leaders endorse the house’s mission. Imam Omar Suleiman, founder and president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, says the house’s staff members make their clients feel welcome. “They work from such a deep sense of purpose and faith, that they’re really vested in the real success of the victims…” he said.

Strict requirements

The transition house is one of 23 houses nationwide operated by ICNA Relief. Since resources are limited, all have strict eligibility requirements, only accepting women who are able-bodied, have no serious mental health issues and have not been involved in a partner-abuse situation.

The Dallas home, which at any given time can house up to 10 people, was built in October 2018. Since then, it has served 22 women and 18 children. Only three women have backslid into homelessness, all struggling with their mental health, said Hala Halabi, who oversees refugee programs for ICNA Relief and is the transition home’s site director.

Halabi helps manage multiple programs for ICNA Relief in North Texas but spends a lot of time on this one. “We don’t call it a shelter, because it’s not a shelter,” she said. “It is a program that helps sisters to stand on their feet again.”

Halabi said that women would call her, crying. They felt out of place at shelters in the area. Some were forced to eat pork since there were few other food options at shelters, she said. Others might get bullied for wearing the hijab or for praying.

Suleiman says discrimination against Muslim women in shelters is a common experience. Shelters are overwhelmed, he said, and sometimes don’t have the time or willingness to understand the unique needs of Muslims.

That doesn’t happen at the transition home, where ICNA Relief provides halal meat, and women can practice their religion free of judgment in private rooms.

A messy separation

Muna’s separation from her husband was messy, and their kids got caught in the middle. He ended up calling Child Protective Services, but the mother retained custody. A few months later, a teacher noticed a mark on one of the kids’ faces and reported it to child protective services, and the children were taken from Muna, said Halabi. ICNA Relief helped place the kids in a foster home run by a Muslim family.

“Everything was new. I didn’t know anything,” Muna said in Arabic. “With my husband, with the house, with the new living space and the situation with my children.”

After leaving the transition house, Muna reconciled with her husband to regain custody of her kids. CPS recently visited her new apartment and deemed it a safe living space for the kids, Halabi said.

ICNA Relief helps clients with food, jobs and transportation. Through donations, the organization provided Muna with a car and helped her find an overnight shift at a warehouse in Farmers Branch.

The East Plano Islamic Center has typically supported the transition house with $1,000 each month, said Riyad Chowdhury, who handles finances for the mosque. The center has also provided financial assistance for some of the women after they leave the home.

Chowdhury says ICNA Relief needs a second transition house in North Texas, given the current economic crisis. “Sister Hala is doing a very good job,” he said. “But she’s a one-person show in this area.”

Improving their skills

Sumbal, a Pakistani immigrant, stayed at the Dallas transition home for a year. Her husband cheated on her, then kicked her out of their home, leading a friend to recommend the transition house.

At first, Sumbal said she had a difficult time adjusting to the house’s strict rules. Residents are not allowed in the house from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During these working hours, they must be out, either working, looking for a job or improving their skills. This includes their children, who in a normal life would have to be dropped off at a babysitter or daycare. These rules did not apply during the stay-at-home orders.

“We don’t give them a chance to be lazy,” Halabi said. Still, ICNA Relief helps them find jobs and people to look after their kids.

Sumbal said the home’s rules taught her how to manage everyday life and become independent. At weekly meetings, she discussed her goals with Halabi and other case managers. She learned how to multitask, manage her time and think critically.

“When I first got there, I didn’t have a lot of confidence,” Sumbal said in Urdu. She was concerned that she would not be able to live alone and work alone, as well as take care of her kids. “I didn’t have a lot of confidence in knowing I could do all of those things by myself.”

She credits Halabi and the organization with helping her realize that she can still live a full life without having to depend on her husband. “With their help,” she said, “I started to remake my life.”

Alyssa Fernandez, an archives and research associate, contributed to this report.

Article Courtesy: dallasnews.com

 
 
07 3 20
 

Houses of Worship Help Battle Food Insecurity in Orange County

Mosques, synagogues, churches, Gurudwaras and other religious institutions are all finding ways to feed communities across the country and many are among the distribution sites in Orange County getting food to the people who need it.

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05 28 20
 

WhyIslam hosts 1st inter’tl virtual Hispanic Muslim conf.

(April 18-19, 2020) WhyIslam made history by hosting their first ever virtual international Hispanic Muslim conference through the WhyIslam, ¿Por qué Islam? (WhyIslam Spanish) and Foro Islámico Global Facebook pages, as well as the 877-WhyIslam YouTube channel.
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03 28 20
 

How to volunteer and donate in New Jersey during COVID-19

As the coronavirus causes real disruption to the lives of New Jerseyans, some residents will be disproportionately affected and many service agencies will be critically impacted.

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03 27 20
 

ICNA Relief Canada donates $150K to help Trillium Health Partners battle COVID-19

A Canadian Muslim relief agency is chipping in $150,000 to help Trillium Health Partners (THP) battle COVID-19.

THP is comprised of Credit Valley Hospital, Mississauga Hospital and Queensway Health Centre in Etobicoke.

ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) Relief Canada is dedicated to helping those in need both at home and abroad.

“When we saw the strain on our health care system, we knew we had to act decisively,” said Ijaz Tahir, chair of ICNA Relief Canada, in a news release this week. “This gift is part of a larger campaign where we as a Muslim community are stepping up to help our neighbours in need.”

The hospital system said the donation will support the highest-priority equipment needs to care for COVID-19 patients.

“It is inspiring to see organizations like ICNA Relief Canada come forward during a time of unprecedented need,” said Caroline Riseboro, president and CEO of Trillium Health Partners Foundation, in the news release. “Thank you for stepping up to help Trillium Health Partners respond to COVID-19 by donating funds that will match the crucial gifts that others in the community make, doubling their impact!”

During this unprecedented time, the THP is asking supporters to “please consider giving a gift to Trillium Health Partners” to support the pressing needs of the hospital and staff as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Every dollar donated, said the THP news release, “will be doubled, thanks to community leaders like ICNA Relief Canada.”

Donations can be made at trilliumgiving.ca/covid19/.

Article Courtesy: durhamregion.com

 
 
03 26 20
 

ICNA Relief Canada donates $70K toward Osler Health System’s COVID-19 response

A Canadian Muslim relief agency is helping William Osler Health System respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic by donating $70,000 to help purchase equipment like ventilators and intensive care unit beds.

The Osler hospital system includes Brampton Civic Hospital, Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, and Etobicoke General Hospital.

ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) Relief Canada is dedicated to helping those in need both at home and abroad.

“We are grateful for the support of ICNA Relief Canada,” said Ken Mayhew, president and CEO of the Osler Foundation. “Now more than ever, our community must rally together behind our health-care workers and our hospitals. Donations, such as the one made today, help give our front-line workers the tools they will need to save lives.”

ICNA Relief Canada has started a campaign to support those impacted by COVID-19. They are supporting hospitals with monetary donations to help purchase lifesaving equipment, providing food baskets to people who are vulnerable and isolated, and offering counselling services via phone or online.

“ICNA Relief Canada is pleased to support Osler as they mobilize for the challenges ahead,” said Ijaz Tahir, chair of ICNA Relief. “Through this donation, we are helping to realize our mission to provide an immediate response during times of disaster and to implement programs that alleviate human suffering.”

Donations made now to Osler Foundation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $250,000 by Steve Robinson, wealth advisor with RBC Dominion Securities, as part of Osler Foundation’s #HealthcareHeroes Campaign. To donate, or to learn more about how you can show your support to the community’s #HealthcareHeroes, visit oslerfoundation.org/covid19.

Article Courtesy: toronto.com

 
 
03 19 20
 

Houses of worship help those effected by virus outbreak

(RNS) — The United Methodist Church has long promoted abstinence from alcohol.

But that didn’t stop City Road Chapel in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, from announcing a Bar and Restaurant Workers Help Fund this week to assist locals whose food-service jobs have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

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03 18 20
 

Helping to deflect outbreak hardship in Inwood

To aid in defraying the financial hardships people are facing amid the coronavirus pandemic, County Legislator Carrié Solages, who represents Inwood, partnered with Islamic Council of North American Relief and provided 100 families with food supplies on March 16.

At 385 Bayview Ave. in Inwood, Solages and ICNA Relief representatives distributed the items.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 49 million Americans live in “food insecure” households and do not know where their next meal is coming from. The food distribution was part of ICNA Relief hunger prevention program to help both individuals and families from going hungry, especially while children are home from school.

“Many families already have a difficult time feeding their families and now that children are home from school and seniors, especially, are asked to stay home, I am proud to know that there are organizations such as ICNA Relief to help alleviate food insecurities,” Solages stated in a news release. “We are our brother’s keeper and must do what we can to help in any way possible.”

Article Courtesy: liherald.com

 
 
02 14 20
 

Noted Islamic Body Gives Away Meals To Homeless In New York City

A prominent Islamic charitable organization distributed hot meals among hundreds of homeless people in New York City on a cold Thursday afternoon.

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12 28 19
 

Western Dawah Road Trip Underway

(Dec. 27, 2019, Los Angeles, Calif.) – The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) launched its dawah (outreach) road trip in the West.

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03 11 19
 

Muslim call center gets hate calls after Dallas billboard

By FOX4News.com Staff
 
Mar 07 2019, DALLAS – A Muslim call center has received about 200 hate calls in a week after a billboard was put up in Dallas to help clear negative stereotypes about hijabs and Muslim women.
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03 8 19
 

Billboard campaign in Dallas on Hijab misconceptions

By STELLA M. CHÃVEZ, Texas Public Radio
 
Ruman Sadiq says the current political climate has led to misperceptions of Muslim women. That’s why she hopes a new six-week billboard campaign will encourage people to call and ask questions about the hijab, or head scarf.
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02 12 19
 

Family honored for kindness during historic Chicago cold

February 11, 2019, by Patrick Elwood
 
MORTON GROVE, Ill. — A suburban family was honored Monday evening for their acts of kindness during the recent polar vortex in Chicago.
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02 12 19
 

Family honored for helping neighbors during storm

The Ahmeds said they want to shake misconceptions about Muslims.
Feb 11, 2019, Chicago, IL – If ever there were a good story to warm you up on a cold wintry night, Sabeel Ahmed and his family are living it.
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02 8 19
 

Chicago family in frozen neighborhood leaves notes offering help and friendship

By Benjamin Naughton, CNN, February 7, 2019
 
(CNN)Neighbors found unexpected warmth when they opened their front doors this week to the minus-14-degree wind chill in Morton Grove near Chicago. Handwritten notes left behind read: “My family and I are available if you need assistance in picking up groceries, medicine or removal of snow.”
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02 3 19
 

WhyIslam Goes to Super Bowl

(Atlanta, GEORGIA, Feb 3, 2019) – A team of trained volunteers from 877-Why-Islam is in Atlanta to join ICNA-Atlanta for a successful Street outreach outside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday. The volunteers spoke with the attendees about the misconceptions about Islam in the media and general society.
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04 12 18
 

Mosque open houses combat negative Muslim stereotypes

By By Bill Murphy, April 12, 2018
 
When the Bear Creek Islamic Center recently held an open house, more than 100 Christians and residents living near the mosque were able to pose questions about whether Islam considers Jesus a God, fosters terrorism and views women as a lesser gender.
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03 4 18
 

Leadership meetings across North East for Convention

 
NEW YORK, NY (March 3, 2018) – Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) chapters across the North East held numerous leadership events during the past week with over 500 imams and community leaders.
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02 20 18
 

Chicago’s Hijab Billboard Campaign Seeks To Educate

By Jim Williams, CBS
February 19, 2018, CHICAGO — A billboard campaign seeks to educate Chicago-area drivers about a traditional garment worn by some Muslim women.
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