Nebraska mosque helps with earthquake recovery in Turkey
By Aaron Bonderson , Report for America Reporter/Producer Nebraska Public Media
March 6, 2023, 12:36 p.m. ·
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LINCOLN, Neb. - A Nebraska mosque is trying to help with recovery from two major earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria in February.
More than 50,000 people have died in southern Turkey and northern Syria from the major earthquakes that demolished roads and buildings. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless or remain missing in the rubble.
Omran Malik is the Vice President of the Islamic Foundation of Lincoln. Malik said during weekly prayer services the congregation donates to the mosque. But recently, he said one offering benefited Rahma Worldwide Aid and Development. And, the community showed up.
“The whole congregation raised $10,000 cash and gave it to them as a check,” Malik said.
He said Rahma Worldwide is purchasing blankets and tents for people in Syria.
The Foundation also works with Islamic Oasis which is sending necessities into Turkey and Syria. Summayia Khan, the Foundation’s Community Programs Director, said sleeping items, especially for cold nights, are also a priority for Islamic Oasis.
“Their big thing was tents and sleeping bags for at least minus 20 to minus 40 degrees,” Khan said.
Khan said the foundation drove a U-haul of items to Chicago where Islamic Oasis ships the items into Turkey and Syria. She said people need personal protective equipment, mostly for breathing.
“The first U-haul left on February 13 full of PPE,” Khan said, “because of the rubble, the debris, and the concrete dust, I mean, not sure how people are breathing that stuff. So, the majority of the PPE was actually kn-95 masks.”
Islamic Oasis uses the materials for its partner hospitals in Idlib, Syria. The Foundation sponsored a second truck-full of necessities a couple weeks later.
“The Muslim community here in Lincoln got together and sponsored another U haul,” Khan said. “In that one, we had rice, beans, and olive oil. We had brand new clothes for babies.”
Khan said the mosque and its foundation partner with Omaha education nonprofit “The Great Academy.” She said the Omaha nonprofit helped fill the second truck.
“The Great Academy, again, came through and donated more PPE,” Khan said.
She said people with the mosque offered up new pillows, clothes, food, and first-aid supplies.
The mosque’s youth group ensured all donated items met the requirements set by Islamic Oasis.
“They sorted through the donations, help pack boxes,” Khan said.
Now, members of the mosque are working on another truck load. This time, they’ll fill it with medical equipment.
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