Islamic Relief: Keep Calm & Help Humanity

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Author’s-Note:
Minkailou Jalloh is currently a full-time employee of Islamic Relief, living in Washington, D.C. He’s been doing some amazing work, within the past years at Islamic Relief, and I’m proud to know of his many tantamount accomplishments. Islamic Relief is a non-profit which offers relief-aid to impoverished & war-torn parts of the World, as well as disaster stricken areas within the United States. I’m here with him, to discuss an incredible initiative that he & others from Islamic Relief have began, he can tell you better than , so let’s here it directly from him.

G.B.: What is this brand-new initiative that Islamic Relief has up its sleeves, to help others in-need?

M.J.: Actually this initiative is an independent project run by myself and my colleague, Ali Hussain, at Islamic Relief. While we will be donating a significant portion of the profits to Islamic Relief USA, the campaign is solely our project. We are selling shirts with the “Keep Calm and Make Du’a” motto. It’s somewhat like Kickstarter, in that if we don’t reach our goal of selling 250 shirts, they will not be printed, and no money will be collected.

G.B.: What is the purpose for the “Keep Calm & Make Du’a” concept?

M.J.: A lot of people are familiar with the Keep Calm and Make Du’a concept. It’s been around for awhile now, and we love the message. We choose to use this because it’s so universally relatable. For those who don’t know, its a play on a British poster conceived prior to World War II. It was an attempt at motivating the population of Great Britain with the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On”, as they were expecting massive air attacks from Germany in the near future. I think the reason the “Keep Calm” manifesto became so popular recently is because there is a legitimate ethos behind it which is applicable in so many circumstances. It speaks to the idea of maintaining strength of will and character in the face of difficulty. In Islam, where we understand that Allah is the Beginning and End of all things, it signifies the idea of turning to Him as a refuge, regardless of what situation you are facing. Thus “Keep Calm and Make Du’a” is our God-conscious perspective on this phrase.

G.B.:What does it mean, for you, as an individual Muslim, to know that every time you go to work, you help make the World a better place?

M.J.: For me it is a blessing, and a great responsibility as well. The reason I wanted to work at Islamic Relief in the first place is because I wanted my job to be something that would benefit others directly, not just a source of income. Knowing that my efforts revolve around providing service to others motivates me and humbles me. I consider it a great gift from my Lord.

G.B.: Where is this initiative taking place?

M.J.: The initiative itself is based online and accessible to any country. The cause that it is supporting is the emergency relief in the Philippines, which was recently struck by Typhoon Haiyan. The devastation was immense, and unfortunately the nation was unable to handle its recovery alone. In our fast-paced, media obsessed culture, these kinds of disasters receive their spotlight and are forgotten quickly. Just because we stop talking about it does not mean the problem has been solved however. Islamic Relief sets a very high goal for itself in terms of contributing to the Philippines relief-efforts, and we are hoping to contribute to that through this project. They are certainly in need of it, and every contribution is helpful.

G.B.: How long do you plan on keeping this initiative going?

M.J.: This campaign will last until December 31. Unless we are able to get 250 pre-orders of the shirt, they will not be printed, and no money will be raised, so we really need the help of the community to make this successful.

G.B.: Is this country the only nation that you plan on having this initiative implemented?

M.J.: As I mentioned, people from around the world can purchase the shirt online. In terms of the cause we are supporting, we do have some preliminary plans to develop other independent fundraising projects for other relief efforts across the globe.

G.B.: How effective do you believe that this initiative can/will be?

M.J.: This initiative can be incredibly successful. While the minimum number of shirts we must sell is 250, there is no ceiling, meaning the potential is limitless. However, it’s success is solely dependent on how much support we receive from the community.

G.B.: How important is it for People to support this initiative?

M.J.: The success of this project is solely based on the support of others. If people don’t support this, it will not go anywhere. In terms of supporting the Philippines, I think we should not be like everyone else and forget about what has happened. Our community should see this through to the end and continue to support those who were affected by the disaster. In fact I believe that anywhere a disaster occurs, the Muslims should be the first to jump in and provide support. Its a part of who we must be as a community. And we cannot be lackadaisical about these things. The Qur’an does not say “support the poor as long as it is convenient for you and doesn’t require too much effort on your part, or just wait for someone else to do it”. Even those with only a date to share are asked to give half. We have to live up to these standards, or else what is the purpose of faith? It becomes something that we use only to make ourselves feel better. Faith is not a pill that you take to feel good, it should define who are as people, and part of that is giving of ourselves in the service of others.

For more information about this project & how you can contribute to it:

http://www.irusa.org

http://www.irusa.org/emergencies/philippines-humanitarian-aid

http://www.teespring.com/keepcalmislam

Gareth Bryant/2013

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