Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Does Anyone CAIR?

Does Anyone CAIR?

The devastation inflicted on the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina has horrified Americans. It seems that every news reports portray a bleaker picture of the region. Private individuals and corporations, as well as churches, synagogues and other religious organizations throughout the nation are pulling together to try and speed relief to the impacted area.

It seems like the disaster, and how we can help victims of the disaster, are first and foremost on everyone’s mind, as it should be.

But once again, more than 2 days since Hurricane Katrina tore through the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the silence of the American Muslim community is deafening.

As of 10 pm ET Wednesday night, the website of the Council for American-Islamic Relations has no mention of the disaster. The news is not full of Islamic leaders joining in the relief efforts – those efforts are left to churches, synagogues, and private charities.

But what about the Muslims of the region?

A quick search shows at least ten Islamic mosques in the New Orleans metro area. Most are certainly under water. Certainly there are Muslims affected by the disaster. Hopefully most evacuated; but the odds are that some of those pulled to safety by rescue crews were Muslim, and certainly some of the 10,000 or more sheltered in the SuperDome are Muslim.

The silence certainly isn’t because Islam doesn’t encourage charity.

Islam101.com includes the following explanation of the obligation Muslims have regarding charity:

The Prophet said, "Even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is an act of charity." The Prophet also said: "Charity is a necessity for every Muslim."

He was asked: "What if a person has nothing?"

The Prophet replied: "He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity."

The Companions of the Prophet asked: "What if he is not able to work?"

The Prophet said: "He should help the poor and needy."

The Companions further asked: "What if he cannot do even that?"

The Prophet said: "He should urge others to do good."

The Companions said: "What if he lacks that also?"

The Prophet said: "He should check himself from doing evil. That is also an act of charity.

It would appear that the Muslim community has a religious imperative to join in and help with relief efforts in New Orleans.

According to the words of the Prophet Mohamed, only those who are unable to work or contribute in any other way are allowed to simply encourage others to do good, or prevent himself from doing evil.

We’re waiting for the Islamic Communities to join in this relief effort. But the question is: do they CAIR?

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