Monday, April 15, 2024

Muslims in America express a strong desire to help Gaza during Ramadan, feeling a pressing concern about the possibility of widespread hunger

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This year, Nadia Duwaik, a 33-year-old Palestinian American, is feeling a heavier heart during Ramadan. Usually, she looks forward to family rituals like iftar, but with the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and the crisis in Gaza, her emotions are more complicated.

Since the October 7 Hamas attack, the siege of Gaza has caused over 30,000 deaths and 70,000 injuries. Humanitarian groups warn of worsening conditions, with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians on the brink of famine.

Efforts for aid include the EU opening an emergency corridor, and the US planning a temporary port. More than 100 people were killed earlier this month in a chaotic incident around food aid trucks, adding to the desperation.

Gaza’s 2.2 million people face acute food insecurity, and child malnutrition is higher than anywhere else in the world, according to the World Food Programme.

American Muslims like Duwaik feel an urgent need to fulfill their Islamic faith by giving to charity (zakat) during Ramadan to help Gaza. Islamic Relief aims to provide food donations and aid throughout the month, supporting 250,000 people in areas like Khan Yunis and Rafah.

Other organizations, like Human Appeal, have been providing relief in Gaza since 1991. They’re establishing a mobile kitchen to feed fasting families during Ramadan.

People around the world, regardless of their faith, are stepping up to help. Donations to organizations like Islamic Relief and Human Appeal have been increasing, reaching approximately $1.9 million in medical supplies, medicine, and winter clothes since October 7, 2023.

However, some, like Noor Traina from Washington, DC, express concern about whether their aid is reaching those in need. Despite donations during Ramadan, she worries about the effectiveness of the relief efforts.

As negotiations for a ceasefire ahead of Ramadan fell apart, Muslims like Traina are determined to use this holy month for both worship and activism. They plan to protest and demand a ceasefire and humanitarian aid for Palestinians, emphasizing that this Ramadan holds a special significance in addressing the challenges faced by Gaza and Palestine.

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