Saturday, October 07, 2006

Fwd: Mormons & Islamics Unite to provide aid

LOS ANGELES -- More than 10 million people living in the Horn of Africa
are facing a severe food shortage and even starvation. Among those
working to help the people of Kenya, Ethiopia and Malawi are two
unlikely allies. One of them is based in Burbank. NBC4's Kelly Mack has

Following is a verbatim script from the on-air report.

Kelly Mack: A dozen workers are packed into the offices of Islamic
Relief in Burbank. The international relief and development
organization is busy preparing for an important fundraising drive aimed
at bringing food and water to the millions of people suffering through
a three year drought in the Horn of Africa.

Shamiq Hussain, Islamic Relief: "We draw upon the imperative of Islam
to help the other, to help those in need, to propel us to always keep
focused on the goal of helping people."

Mack: Islamic Relief, which has been in existence since 1984, has
partnered with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to
provide supplemental food to starving Africans. The Mormon Church
manufactures the easily digestible grain mix and Islamic Relief gets it
to the people on the ground.

Hussain: "We deal purely with the humanitarian impulse ... and really
that's spread across religious lines, you know, across ethnic lines,
any kind of barriers you can think of."

Mack: The video and photos from the Horn of Africa were taken by Shamiq
Hussain, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He tells us his world
view has changed since visiting Africa.

Hussain: "You get to a place where they don't have water. It's just
such a fundamental necessity ... and they just, they don't have it.
It's amazing to experience that, and to experience how people cope with

Mack: Islamic Relief is beginning a major fundraising drive ...
targeting $1.2 million dollars to provide emergency food and water for
the starving populations. And unlike many charitable organizations
recently, Islamic Relief has been enjoying INCREASING donations.
Hussein: "They'll see the work that we do, and it really captures their
hearts ... and I think that's what keeps them consistently giving to

Mack: There is certainly a political element to the problems affecting
these African nations. But politics, according to the volunteers of
Islamic Relief, are irrelevant in the face of such suffering.

Hussain: "I think that's what our organization and other organizations
that we work with that are not Islamic organizations. That's where we
find our common ground and that's where we focus."

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