A favor for fellow Americans: Local Muslim groups spearhead hurricane-relief drive for Puerto Ricans

A favor for fellow Americans: Local Muslim groups spearhead hurricane-relief drive for Puerto Ricans
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

It’s a color-blind care package.

Members of two Islamic faith-based associations on Friday announced a massive shipment of goods to Puerto Rican hurricane victims following a several-week donation drive that the groups’ leaders spearheaded in the Muslim community, which sprung to action to help its fellow citizens after the disasters, said an organizer.

“We are Muslim Americans and, like anyone else in this country, when the time of need comes we step up and help our citizens,” said Officer Adeel Rana, a member of the New York Police Department’s Muslim Officers Society. “As Muslims we can’t see a neighbor or friend suffering and just relax — we need to do something.”

Cops in the Muslim Officers Society partnered with honchos at the city’s Islamic Circle of North America — a faith-based charity — to conduct the drive, for which they enlisted the leaders of city mosques and other religious facilities to help them gather thousands of goods including canned foods, bottled water, and hygiene products.

Reps from each association revealed the results of the collection outside a Gowanus warehouse, which a generous do-gooder offered as a storage space for the items until organizers can get them to the island, according to Rana.

The cop said the police officers chose to work with the charitable group because its volunteers already sent donations to Puerto Ricans following hurricanes Irma and Maria, giving the authorities access to an in-place aid network.

“The Islamic circle has a national chapter that does a lot of relief efforts, and they already started doing work in Puerto Rico — sending containers of food and essential stuff — and we wanted to contribute,” Rana said.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.
Stacked: A worker loaded donations including non-perishable foods, water, and hygiene products onto a flatbed.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell