Muslim Community Mosques shelter to flood victims

An aerial view shows extensive flooding from Harvey in a residential area in Southeast Texas, Aug. 31, 2017. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Martinez
U.S. Department of Defense

“We Are Not Turning Anyone Away. Whatever We Have, We Are Sharing”

With Southeast Texas flooded due to Tropical Storm Harvey, an increasing number of people are fleeing their submerged homes. The houses of worship take them in. Many mosques in Houston affiliated with Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) are now transformed into 24-hour shelters. The Houston mosques are open to flood victims of all religions and all ethnicity . The Muslim community itself is generous with their donations. Evacuees are given everything from piping hot food to books and toys for kids. It helped that when the word got out that a specific mosque was being converted into a shelter, donations came pouring in. The Islamic Society has teamed with the Baitulmaal. The latter is a non-profit based in Texas. It specializes in poverty relief and disaster management. The two now offer those in need with water and food. Hygiene products are also distributed.

The mosques which serve as shelters are fully stocked with the necessary supplies. More than 200 people are spending the night under their roofs. The numbers are rapidly rising in tune with increasing number of people getting displaced due to the flood waters. “We are not turning anyone away. Whatever we have, we are sharing,” said ISGH Vice President Mohammad Amin. The ISGH began mobilizing their volunteer committees immediately as the storm hit. Volunteers are staffing rescue missions and distributing food. Some are working all day and night at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Which now shelters over 9,000 people. Muslim restaurants are offering free food to those in the convention center. Hundreds of meals are being cooked and sent across even in the depths of night.

One Islamic center, unable to provide shelter due to the storm refused to fully shut down. The Clear Lake Islamic Center has established a 24-hour hotline with a local doctor to assist in medical emergencies for those who are unable to travel. The center has teamed up with a local church and has become a donation hub as well.

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