Friday 4 September 2009

US Muslims to raise Malaria Awareness tomorrow

America’s most prominent imams and Muslim leaders are uniting in an extraordinary one-day gathering to raise awareness and funds in support of Islamic Relief’s “Bite the Bug” campaign to combat and eradicate malaria in Western Africa.

“We need to put this on the radar of the community,” Tariq Subhani, event chairperson and president of United for Change, a new Muslim umbrella organization, told

Billed as a “historical event” and a “turning point in Islamic work in the US,” the one-day conference will be held on Saturday, September 5, just outside of Washington, D.C.

It is the brainchild of Imam Zaid Shakir, of the Zaytuna Institute in California, who took an eight-day trip with Islamic Relief to see their work to eradicate malaria in Mali last March.

“Seeing the work of Islamic Relief, how they’re filling the gaps and empowering the Muslims in sub-Sahara Africa to take charge of their health and their selves, to see how they’re building a healthcare infrastructure--it was truly inspiring,” Imam Shakir told IOL.

He came back from Africa convinced that an issue like malaria couldn’t be tackled by one group or individual.

He immediately approached all 11 major Muslim organizations in the US, including Islamic Society of Northern America (ISNA), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Relief and the Zaytuna Institute, to come together in a unified effort for this cause.

“I knew it was possible to bring these different groups together for a higher cause – to rally around malaria,” asserted Imam Shakir.

“We pray that Allah helps us to raise the consciousness of Muslims about the devastating effects of malaria.”

Prominent religious leaders like Hamza Yusuf, Imam Siraj Wahaj, Imam Mohammad Masjid, Dr. Fatima Jackson and many others will be speaking about the need for unity and the battle Muslims must wage against malaria.

In the evening after the conference ends, there will be a special iftaar dinner and taraweeh prayers with all the speakers.

With a capacity for nearly 3,000, tickets for the event are selling briskly, Subhani said, expecting a rush of sales on the day before and event.

He hopes the Ramadan spirit of giving and the drive to help fellow Muslims will make people more receptive to the message.

“We can gain a multitude of benefits by attending and supporting this cause,” he said. “The blessings are countless.”

Funds raised from the event will go in part to Islamic Relief for their work to eradicate malaria in Africa.

Also see: Youssou N'Dour's fight against Malaria

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