Tag Archives: Natural Disaster

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

Hurricane-Sandy: The Storm that took us all by surprise:

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For an entire week, New York City was hit with the effects of a hurricane, that knocked it clear off of its feet. Hurricane Sandy, not only rocked NYC, but the entire Eastern-Seaboard of the United States to its very core. Thousands of people without water, heat, or electricity, hundreds who have no place to call home, in the (New York-New Jersey-Connecticut) tri-state area alone. This event, which took place over the last weekend in October, has really brought a brand-new sense of both realty & vulnerability, that none of us could’ve ever anticipated, nor were willing to accept, prior to it.

I mean, even I, myself, who has suffered very little, other than missing a whole week of work, couldn’t have possibly imagined that things would’ve turned out this bad, mainly because the effects of last-year’s Hurricane-Irene was nothing, in comparison to the damage witnessed by this-year’s Hurricane-Sandy-The entire city of New York was at a complete stand-still, the subway-system was completely non-functioning, due to immense underground-flooding, in Lower-Manhattan, South-Brooklyn, and in the Rockaways, Queens, and this has not only been the 1st time in my own lifetime, but the 1st time in the entire century-long history of the New York City subway-system, that it was forced to shut-down completely, as a result of a disaster-Whole blocks & sections of NYC, as well as other parts of the Eastern-Seaboard, look just like war-zones, in war-torn, 3rd-World nations, like Breezy Point, Queens, for example: No exaggeration…it looks as though 20 Hellfire-Missiles descended upon this neighborhood. It’s really sad, how damaging this storm has really become. There are people, whom I even know personally, from NYC itself, who have to re-build their lives, all the way from scratch, literally starting from nothing…from zero.

Now, not to down-play the severity of this natural-disaster, but, there are some serious questions, which must & should be on everyone’s minds, regardless to the severity of how, or if, at all, we were affected by this hurricane:

1. Are we, generally, grateful to Allah, our creator, for our lives & possessions?

2. Are we grateful for surviving the effects of this natural-disaster?

3. Are we of among those whom have been affected, by this natural-disaster, yet, are grateful for things not being worse?

4. Are we empathetic and/or sympathetic towards those who may have either lost life and/or possession?

5. Have we done, or are we going to do anything to offer some type of help to those whom we no who have been affected by this natural-disaster?

If the answer to any of the above questions are no, then, we as individuals, as well as a society at large, have some serious problems-There should not be any one of us whom is not grateful to our creator, for everything that we’ve ever acquired or anything which has been denied us-There should never be any of us whom are not grateful for surviving any mishap or tragedy that befalls us-There should not be anyone among us whom are not reflecting upon the plight of either persons whom we know or don’t know, whom have become victims of this natural-disaster-There should not be any of us whom are not willing & able, or whom have not already stared to, help anyone, whom we know or don’t know love, or despise, in need of any form of assistance.

There are actually several things which this natural-disaster should’ve have taught us all:

1. The recognition & acceptance that Allah, the Creator & Lord of the Universe, is, in all reality, in control of everything & we, as created-things, in all reality, are in control of nothing, we merely have the illusion of control.

2. The recognition & acceptance that just because Allah has chosen to spare us, this year from any form of death or destruction, is absolutely no guarantee that we will continue to be spared, from death or destruction in the next years to come, from becoming a victim to this type & magnitude of a natural-disaster.

3. The dire need to be concerned about, how the “other-half” lives, the condition of the other.

4. The recognition of the severity of what has happened & the need to enact action, in regards to volunteer ourselves for the other, in the path of public-service, during this most tumultuous time, during the aftermath & rebuilding of the regions of America hit by this hurricane.

In closing, this is just a simple advice, primarily to myself & then, to others, that we, as Human beings are obligated by Allah, to be of sincere help to others, in any & every way that we can. So, let us truly do that, starting helping those directly within our midsts, wherever we may be in this world-Just be a person of conscience & positive-action for others.

Thanks for reading,

Gareth Bryant/2012