Muslims Discuss Their Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) Experience
"This is where Muslims, Christians and Jews come together: charity. IHN has made the entire community closer because we all believe in helping others and without a shadow of a doubt IHN works and has made a difference. When dealing with homeless families, you don't see color, you don't see religion, you just see people." Taalibah Muqtadir, Somerville, NJ
In Phoenix, AZ, a local masjid recently shared their Eid Celebration with families at the Interfaith Hospitality Network. Deedra Abboud, one of the volunteers, felt that the experience was both "exciting and different. This was something that we had never done before." She also noted the guest families "had never met a Muslim before." The families were delighted with the array of middle eastern and south Asian dishes and after the meal the volunteers and children in the program spent time talking and playing. The experience has inspired Abboud and others from the masjid to explore partnering with a neighboring church to become a host congregation in the network.
"Submitting to the will of Allah includes helping/serving your fellow man in times of need→. I am fulfilled in my humble efforts to help the needy, providing assistance and hope through the work I do at Interfaith Council for the Homeless."-Sayydah Garrett, Plainfield, NJ
In Reno, NV, the Northern Nevada Muslim Community teamed up with Temple Sinai to host families this Christmas week. The synagogue provided the space while volunteers from the masjid prepared the turkey among other activities. Imam Abdul Barghouti noted "When we have a concentrated effort like this, it brings more good and it brings more understanding of each other and more tolerance of each other." He added "In this community, this is probably a first -- as far as having Muslim, Jewish and Christian cooperation."
"Partnering with IHNs provides an ideal way for American Muslims to fulfill the teachings of the Quran by becoming involved in their communities in order to help those in need and increase understanding about the Islamic faith."-Hannah Hawk, Houston, TX
In Columbus, Ohio an average of five or six homeless Muslim families at a time are served by the IHN. Local Muslim groups have volunteered in a number of ways-from providing hijabs for a family that lost everything in a fire to treating all the children in the program to a visit to the science museum. As local volunteer Hiba Nasser noted, "IHN is fair, just, caring, unbiased and all the things I care about as a Muslim. This is a great way to really live the Sunnah. Helping homeless families is not just about a place to sleep; it is holding the child, listening to the mother, smiling and connecting with people. More Muslims should be involved in reaching out to homeless families, helping them to the next step, and supporting such programs."
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