Haiti and the “Heartless” Muslims?

Sheila Musaji

Posted Jan 29, 2010      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Haiti and the “Heartless” Muslims?

by Sheila Musaji

It is difficult sometimes not to respond in the same bigoted and vicious vein to those who continually attempt to cast all Muslims as the super villains of planet earth.  The most recent Islamophobic propaganda is that Muslims have done nothing to help the people of Haiti during their time of need.  Some of the posts and articles make claims like “Muslims don’t help Christians”, Arab League nations sent nothing,  or even Jews vs Muslims.  One article in Israel National News was titled “Haiti Relief: Israel Sends 220 – Muslims Send 0” referring to the Israeli relief efforts.  This is an outright lie, and the author of the article should be ashamed.  Israel has participated in relief efforts to Haiti, including the following: * A field hospital, the only hospital in operation, with 40 doctors, 25 nurses, paramedics, a pharmacy, a children’s ward, a radiology department, an intensive care unit, an emergency room, two operating rooms, a surgical department, an internal department and a maternity ward. The hospital can treat approximately 500 patients each day, and in addition will perform preliminary surgeries. * A search-and-rescue team, which has rescued about five people from under the rubble. * 220 personnel in total * Dozens of truckloads of medical and logistical equipment.  That is wonderful.  Robert Spencer, of course believes that “Actually, Muslim countries are conspicuous by their absence” (in relief to Haiti).

There has been an outpouring of support from around the world from governments, aid organizations, and individuals.  That is also wonderful.  What is not wonderful is the attempt by some to turn this into a propaganda incident.  That is reprehensible.  There has been a rash of articles about why Muslims haven’t donated, what is wrong with Muslims, Muslims have no compassion, etc.  Just to set the record straight, here are a few examples of Muslim involvement in this current human tragedy in Haiti:

Individual Muslims are involved in relief efforts.  Among the poorest people on earth -  Palestinians in Gaza have collected supplies and money to donate to Haiti.

Muslim organizations are involved in a number of ongoing relief efforts. 

The Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) has helped convert an amusement park in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to a health care facility/clinic.  IMANA has sent a team of doctors and will send rotating teams of doctors weekly.

ISNA has set up a fund, already delivered $67,000 and is continuing to raise funds. 

Muslim Charities are involved in relief efforts. 

Al-Khidmat Foundation and Edhi Foundation, Pakistan  are mobilising relief efforts to help Haitians despite the country’s own political and economic volatility. Both organisations have considerable expertise in this area due to the massive 2005 earthquake that killed nearly 80,000 in northern Pakistan. The Edhi Foundation has already pledged $500,000 to assist Haiti and Dr. Edhi is going to Haiti himself to assess what help they might provide.

BRAC (NGO) (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee), the Bangladesh based world’s largest NGO’s USA wing is mobilizing resources to support the relief and rehabilitation efforts working with its two partners in Haiti  

Helping Hand for Relief and Development’s Medical Base Camp is up and running in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Medical doctors and nurses treated 500 patients yesterday. Another team of medical doctors is arriving this Friday, to treat the severely injured and sick. 

Islamic Relief, USA is on the ground in Haiti and the U.S. branch has pledged $1 million and is working with the Mormon church to send supplies by plane.  Islamic Relief, Canada and “Seekers Digest” hosted the “Muslim Online Haiti Fundraiser” and raised over $100,000 in two hours. The organisation also used its existing partnership with the Mormon Church to send hygiene kits and temporary shelters to Haiti, in addition to pledging a total of $2.5 million.

Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum Charity (MBRMC) and Life for Relief and Development (Life), UAE is sending $1.25 million-worth of food, water, medicine, medical supplies, clothing and other emergency supplies.

Muslim Aid of Australia was on the ground in Haiti within hours after the quake.  They have also sent a team focused on providing access to clean drinking water with purification units as well as setting up a large inflatable field emergency hospital. Much needed clean water, emergency shelters, medicines and food aid are now getting to the victims of the disaster.  Muslim Aid in the UK also donated £75,000, and its teams were installing purification units to provide clean drinking water and setting up a mobile field hospital. 

Red Crescent, UAE is delivering aid supplies. Red Crescent International as part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is actively involved in Haiti Aid including participation in running a field hospital.

The Zakat Foundation has been purchasing supplies in the Dominican Republic and trucking them in to Haiti daily.  One of the delivery points is St. Clare’s Church in Port-au-Prince, and the Zakat Foundation is making sure the church is supplied with food and water on a regular basis. The church uses the supplies to feed up to 3,000 people daily, and the Zakat Foundation supplies food directly to some 700 orphans at a camp near the church.  ...  The Zakat Foundation is locating more orphans and aims to open a permanent orphanage in Haiti.

Zaman International in Michigan has partnered with International Medical Corps who are on the front lines of humanitarian disasters, specializing in assisting in trauma situations.

16 UK based Muslim-led charities are raising funds for Haiti. The amount raised could reach a total of £ 10 million pounds (app. $16 million) in the next couple of months. These charities include: Al Mustafa Trust International, Helping Hands Worldwide, Human Appeal International, Human Relief Foundation, Islamic Aid, Islamic Help, Islamic Relief, Minhaj Welfare Foundation UK, Muslim Aid, Muslim Care, Muslim Charity Helping the Needy, Muslim Global Relief, Muslim Hands, The World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities, UK Care for Children, Ummah Welfare Trust. 

Muslim countries are involved in relief efforts. 

Albania $30,000 pounds

Algeria has donated $1 million.

Azerbaijan $500,000

Bahrain has pledged $1 million

Bosnia & Herzegovina $75,000

Burkina Faso $152,000 pounds

Egypt sent medical supplies and personnel.

Indonesia has sent 30 tons of aid worth US$22 million to Haiti, and it also sent 75 rescue personnel comprising 30 medical doctors, 10 rescuers, 10 electricity technicians, 25 construction and telecommunication experts.

Iran has donated 30 metric tons of aid, and has also set up a mobile clinic to treat the injured.

Jordan  has sent two planes carrying Jordanian medics and medical equipment.  It has also established a 12-bed military hospital in Port-au-Prince, and are also feeding children who enter; dispatched two planes carrying a mobile field hospital, rescue team, doctors and six tons of aid supplies that include food, medicine and clothing.

Kuwait has donated $1 million and sent 100 tons of food to Haiti’s quake survivors.

Lebanon sent a plane with 25 tons of tents and three tons of medical supplies as well as relief workers . 

Libya sent a shipment of supplies and medicine.

Mali $213,000 U.S.

Morocco has pledged $1 million

Nigeria $7.2 million Nigerian dollars

Pakistan - Several Pakistani rescuers and troops are stationed (as part of the UN force) in affected areas by Minustah as Pakistan is largest contributor to UN peacekeeper forces while Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Monday directed the Cabinet Division to immediately provide relief assistance in the form of 3000 tents/blankets and eight tons medicines to help the earthquake affected people of Haiti

Qatar sent 50 metric tons of aid, $100,000 cash, a 26 person rescue team and a team of doctors.

Saudi Arabia has donated $50 million.

Senegal In addition to US$1m in aid, the president of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, issued a promise of free land and “repatriation” for Haitian refugees.

Syria sent 30 tons of supplies

Turkey has pledged $1 million and there are four Turkish relief groups on the ground in Haiti. Aid in the form of a mobile hospital, tents, blankets, and food was provided by the Turkish Healthy Ministry and the Turkish Red Crescent.

Turkmenistan $500,000

Tunisia $1 million.

The UAE is organizing planes for an air bridge to bring supplies to Haiti, and has sent over $2.6 million

And, it should be noted (but usually isn’t) that references to Red Cross help are actually references to Red Cross-Red Crescent International.  There are also Muslim doctors with Doctors Without Borders and other medical groups, etc.  Muslims around the world (just like everyone else) donate to groups like Habitat for Humanity and other non-denominational charities.  Muslims also make up sizeable minorities in many countries and donations to local and international charities are not tracked by what the religious affiliation of the donor might be.  Muslims are organizing a LIVE 5 hour ‘MuslimsForHaiti’ Telethon on ARY Digital, that will air worldwide; USA, Europe, Canada, Middle East, UK, and Pakistan on Saturday January 30th, 2010 12:00 pm EST.  The World Bank is providing a $100 million grant, and the U.N. is sending $10 million.  (Muslims are also part of those organizations).

If people want to object to some particular Muslim country not giving what they consider to be enough, that is one thing, however, to cast all Muslims as heartless is quite another.

SEE ALSO - updated lists of donations by country http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanitarian_response_by_national_governments_to_the_2010_Haiti_earthquake - by NGO’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanitarian_response_by_non-governmental_organizations_to_the_2010_Haiti_earthquake  - list of all contributions and pledges as of 1/25/10 http://ocha.unog.ch/fts/reports/daily/ocha_R10_E15797_asof___1001291842.pdf

UPDATE 1/19/10

Sheikh `Abdel-Khaliq Hasan Ash-Shareef, a renowned Azharite scholar, stated in Islam Online’s “Ask the Scholar” fatwa section:

As for our duty and role, it should be known that all humanity, with all its sects, doctrines, ideologies, races, and colors, has a great responsibility toward Haiti. It is obligatory on all humans to help the victims of this earthquake and provide them with various kinds of aid. They should offer as much assistance as possible, including food and medical, financial, and social aid.

There should not be any sense of indifference, because we are all descendants of Adam. Moreover, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“In [t he benevolence offered] to every living creature, there is a reward.”(Al-Bukhari)

Also, Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“The Muslim who plants something and birds or people or animals eat from it will have this act as an act of charity.”(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

All people on this globe should stand together to help those afflicted people, who have become subject to diseases, pains of hunger, and lack of daily rations and even the basic needs of human beings. We should assist them and rescue those who call us from between the ruins and from under the debris of demolished buildings.

It should be clear that people are equal, especially in these calamities, and no attention should be paid to the differences in cultures, religions, or races. If Muslims abstain from helping non-Muslims in distress or vise versa, then they would be held accountable before Allah on the Day of Resurrection.

Also, Dr. Hatem Al-Haj, dean of the Sharia Academy of America, added,

In Islam, it is advisable to give charity and help all needy people. Allah says,

(And [the righteous] feed with food the needy wretch, the orphan, and the prisoner, for love of Him.) (Al-Insan 76:8)

It is also known that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“In [the benevolence offered] to every living creature, there is a reward.”(Al-Bukhari)

Moreover, the kind treatment of people afflicted with such disasters may be the best way to reconcile their hearts. That is not exploitive proselytizing, because you will not exploit them in any cheap way; you will help them out of a concern for humanity and keenness on their welfare.

It is now obvious that Muslims are becoming more aware of the importance of such relief efforts, and I heard that Islamic Relief donated considerably to the relief efforts devoted to the people of Haiti. Muslims have also been among the first and most accomplished responders to the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. We hope that this trend will continue and blossom, Allah willing.

The Israeli Delegation left Haiti on the 27th, and patients have been transferred to other hospitals.

UPDATE 1/30/2010

It is difficult to understand why some members of another religious community are unable to even do a simple google search to get their facts straight.  On January 27th an article was published by Steven B. Nasatir (president of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago) in which he also makes the claim that Saudi Arabia has only sent condolences. 

That the reporting is not always free of bias is also shown by the fact that there is almost no mention of the fact that the first medical team into Haiti (within hours) and who are still laboring there was from Cuba.  Why is it that some are not worthy of being mentioned even when they are involved in a humanitarian effort?

The positive stories like this one are what should be stressed:  “One young Haitian man said, “One good sign is the solidarity of the world. Muslim doctors, Jewish doctors, Christian doctors all come to help us. We see children in Gaza collecting toys for Haitian children. It looks very bad right now, but this is a big opportunity for the world and Haiti to change and do good together.”

UPDATE 3/2010

Loonwatch has published JihadWatch Hypocrisy Knows no Bounds in which they note that a group of U.S. Baptist Christian missionaries are accused of engaging in Child Trafficking, of taking 33 missing children who are separated from relatives and smuggling them out of the country to be adopted.  After detailing this story, Loonwatch says:  “Of course Robert Spencer and his cronies at their hate site didn’t see fit to run this story because it doesn’t fit in nicely into their argument of Christianity=light and goodness and Islam=Evil and darkness.  If it were Muslims who were accused of this crime you can bet that Spencer would preside as judge, jury and executioner and say that the Muslims were just acting on Islam.

Grasping for straws and for some way to deflect attention away from these missionaries Robert Spencer attempted to cast Muslim relief workers as “stealth Jihadists.”  Details at Loonwatch