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Muslim groups hope to send more aid to quake victims

Muslim groups hope to send more aid to quake victims

Feb 6, 2001

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)

February 6, 2001 | Ferrara, David

Byline: David Ferrara Daily Herald Staff Writer

As rescue teams plow through the aftermath of a massive earthquake in Buhj, India, and construct shelter for the estimated 600,000 people left homeless, relief efforts burgeon in the Chicago suburbs.

In just the next few weeks, Muslim leaders hope to more than double the $37,000 they gathered Sunday at the Islamic Foundation in Villa Park.

Salim Shariff, a Chicago Muslim who was in Villa Park Sunday, said he would like to see fund-raisers every week with a goal of collecting at least $100,000.

The Islamic Circle of North America, a national religious group, last week sent $25,000 from its reserve fund to India, said Mohammed Ikram Hussain, a member of the group.

About 350 Muslims paid $25 each or $50 per family for tickets to the weekend gathering at the Islamic Foundation in Villa Park. Donations ranged from $100 to $5,000.

Efforts to collect money from the estimated 400,000 Muslims in the Chicago area will continue for at least the next three months, said Hussain, who organized the fund-raiser in Villa Park. In March, Muslims will gather to celebrate the religious holiday Eid Adha.

“I’m hoping that people will still remember the earthquake then,” Hussain said.

The Villa Park foundation is one of the four largest Islamic centers in the Chicago area. Leaders say they expect thousands of dollars to pour in through the week as they contact Muslims who were unable to attend Sunday.

“We’re brought up this way – that we should help each other. And that’s what we tried to bring to the audience (Sunday),” Hussain said. “God forbid if something happened to me next month or next year. Someday someone else will take care of me. It’s just sort of an insurance policy.”

A Chicago-area committee with the national group will gather to discuss possible future fund-raisers. The next event likely would be in Chicago with others in Skokie and Libertyville.

While the death toll from the Jan. 26 quake has hit 17,000 and is expect to rise to 30,000 when the debris is cleared, relief efforts are concentrated on those who survived.

Hussain, of Villa Park, was modest about the amount of money raised, but he said the Islamic group hopes to “at least make a difference for some people if we can.”

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