In the wake of continued flooding and devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey to the Houston area of Texas, the local Muslim community has been at the forefront of the local relief effort with the areas Mosque’s turning into 24hr refuge centres for all those left homeless from the storm.
M.J. Khan, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, an organization that represents 21 Islamic centers in the area, said that four of ISGH’s member mosques were open as round-the-clock shelters.
“This is an obligation, a religious obligation to help others. When you give, you don’t give only to your own family. You give to anybody who needs help.”
Khan further explained that with Hurricane Harvey bearing down on Friday, the ISGH had the idea to offer mosques as shelters to anyone who needed refuge. The problem, he explained, was that many of the roads weren’t passable.
Given the institution’s communications links, with just a few phone calls, volunteers began showing up to local mosques with bottled water, sleeping bags and supplies.
As of Tuesday, four mosques were operating as fully equipped shelters, staffed and stocked by local volunteers. In fact, there were so many volunteers from Houston’s Muslim community that they went to help in city shelters and at Houston’s convention center.
In addition to the immediate relief that the shelters are providing, aid in the form of money and supplies has been coming in from Islamic organizations all over the U.S.
“We have truckloads of supplies coming” Khan said. He added that the ISGH had put together a list of 50 doctors from the Muslim community who were willing to be on call and offered it to the city of Houston.
With even more Harvey-related flooding expected in the Houston area over the coming hours and days, Khan had a message for the rest of the country,
“We appreciate your sentiment and goodwill, and especially your prayers. For anyone in Houston who might be in need of help, we have mosques all over the greater Houston area. If you have no place to go, go to your neighborhood mosque.”