Thursday, January 14, 2010

Islamic Relief USA works with Mormon church to aid Haitian quake victims

(Alexandria, VA, January 13, 2010) -- Islamic Relief USA, America’s largest Muslim relief organization, announced today that it will immediately fly a $1 million shipment of aid to those impacted by yesterday’s earthquake in Haiti. That relief aid will be sent in coordination with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Those wishing to donate to Islamic Relief USA's "Haiti Emergency" appeal may or call (888) 479-4968. Checks payable to “Islamic Relief USA” may be mailed to: Islamic Relief USA, P.O. Box 5640, Buena Park, CA, 90622.

In October 2009, Islamic Relief USA responded to two Pacific Rim earthquakes by coordinating a massive aid shipment to Samoa and deploying emergency teams in Indonesia.

Islamic Relief partners worldwide also responded to other major disasters such as the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the Pakistan earthquake in 2005. More than $100 million in relief aid was collected to assist the victims in those disaster areas. Islamic Relief also responded to Hurricane Katrina, delivering aid to more than 60,000 people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

[NOTE: Media professionals interested in speaking to aid workers who have experience in disaster zones or to learn more about ongoing response efforts may contact Islamic Relief USA VP of Fund Development Anwar Khan at 818-216-9723.]

Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) humanitarian agency with offices also in California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Texas. As an international relief and development organization, Islamic Relief strives to alleviate the poverty and suffering of the world's poorest people. Since its establishment, Islamic Relief has expanded greatly with permanent locations in more than 35 countries worldwide.

For the sixth consecutive year, Islamic Relief USA has been awarded four stars by Charity Navigator, the largest charity evaluator in the country. This prestigious award puts Islamic Relief among the top 2.25 percent of charities in the nation.

Media Contacts: Anwar Khan, 818-216-9723 (mobile), E-mail:; Mostafa Mahboob, 310-351-0952 (mobile), E-mail:


Associated Press, 1/12/10

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An American Muslim group has donated the first $1,000 to an account it established to pay for repairs to Christian churches that have been firebombed in Malaysia.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says CAIR is asking American Muslims and other people of good will to contribute. (More)


BBC, 1/13/2010

A Bangladeshi taxi driver in New York City has gone out of his way to track down the person who left thousands of dollars in cash in the back of his cab.

Mukul Asadujjaman, a medical student, drove nearly 80kms (50 miles) to an address he found with the money.

He left his phone number when he found no one at home. The money belonged to an Italian grandmother visiting the US.

Mr Asadujjaman was offered a reward, but he turned it down saying that as a devout Muslim he could not accept it.

Felicia Lettieri, of Pompeii, Italy, and six relatives had taken two cabs on Christmas Eve, Newsday newspaper reported...

Asked if he was tempted to keep the cash, Mr Asadujjaman said the money would have allowed him more time to study, "but my heart said this is not good".

He also turned down a reward, saying he could not accept it as a devout Muslim, Newsday reported.

"I'm needy, but I'm not greedy," he said. "It's better to be honest." (More)


Christine Ferretti, The Detroit News, 1/13/2020

Mount Clemens -- Local Muslim advocacy groups today said they are concerned that an apparent suicide Friday of a Macomb County Jail inmate may have been a homicide, and they want more answers.

Mohammed Abdul-Fazal Chowdhury, 22, who was awaiting trial in the stabbing death of his wife, was discovered with his throat slashed around 4 p.m. Friday in his cell.

Sheriff Mark Hackel said Chowdhury sliced an artery in his neck with a razor blade from a shaving tool available through the jail's commissary. Chowdhury's penis was also severed, he said.

News of the graphic injuries has prompted some relatives, Muslim leaders and Metro Detroit advocacy groups to question if his death may have been a homicide.

Hackel said Chowdhury's death -- like that of any jail inmate -- was investigated as a homicide. But the outcome in this case revealed Chowdhury was the victim of his own actions, he said.

"Although strange, these were self-inflicted wounds," said Hackel, adding Macomb County Medical Examiner Dan Spitz ruled the death a suicide.

"There is no question -- this person took his own life."

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Southfield-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the organization submitted a request for Chowdhury's autopsy report yesterday after being informed of concerns over the condition of his body by a Bengali leader in Hamtramck. (More)


Some Muslims question the wounds found on murder suspect Chowdhury's body
By Niraj Warikoo and Amber Hunt, Detroit Free Press, 1/13/10

Local Muslims are asking for a state investigation into the death of a 22-year-old murder suspect in custody at the Macomb County Jail, calling into question authorities' ruling that the death was a suicide.

Authorities say that Mohammed Abul-Fazal Chowdhury killed himself inside a jail cell on Friday with a razor he got from the commissary.

But some local Muslims, including those who washed his dead body, say they're concerned that Chowdhury -- in jail on allegations he killed his wife -- may have been the victim of a slaying himself. His genitalia was mutilated, they say, and he had a laceration on his neck and a bruise on the back of one shoulder…

A funeral prayer was held Tuesday night in Detroit for Chowdhury, where people were concerned about what might have happened to Chowdhury inside the cell, said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Muslims perform ritual washing of dead bodies before burial and those who washed Chowdhury saw things that seemed odd, Walid said. (More)


By Bob Goldsborough, Chicago Tribune, 1/13/2010

A proposal to allow a place of worship near Naperville for about 30 Muslim families from the western suburbs was rejected Tuesday by the DuPage County Board.

But it appears the controversy over the proposed Islamic center isn't over.

With little comment, County Board members voted 10-7 to deny a conditional-use permit requested for the Irshad Learning Center, which was proposed for a 2.91-acre site on 75th Street between Wehrli Road and Naper Boulevard in unincorporated Naperville.

Neighbors long had objected to plans for the center, citing concerns about parking and late-night services. But supporters of the center have said religious bias is behind the objections.

"We fear that the board may have acted on improper factors in rejecting the Irshad Learning Center's permit, and we will continue to pursue this matter in hopes of achieving a just resolution," said Kevin Vodak, attorney with the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which will be representing Irshad as it considers appealing the county's ruling.

Mahmood Ghassemi, chairman of the Irshad board, said the group did everything it was asked to do to meet county requirements and satisfy neighbors, but "our good will was not reciprocated by neighbors or by the officials." (More)

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