After Harvey, Texas Muslims Turn Mosques Into 24-Hour Shelters

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Hurricane Harvey prompted several mosques to open their doors to victims, while members of the Muslim community offered supplies and medical care for free.

Muslim girl holds "We Are Muslim Americans"  sign.

While some religious figures decided to turn their backs on the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Houston's Muslim community didn't think twice before opening their doors to anyone who needed shelter.

Across the city, mosques have turned into 24-hour shelters where volunteers are donating water, food, and baby-related supplies, Mic reports, even if roads leading to these places of worship are still difficult to access.

At the moment, the president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH), M.J. Khan, said at least four of the 21 local mosques are functioning as 24-hour shelters for hurricane victims.

“This is an obligation, a religious obligation to help others,” Khan told reporters. “When you give, you don’t give only to your own family. … You give to anybody who needs help.”

On top of opening their doors, ISGH has also put its community's networking system to good use, allowing for a great number of people stepping up to bring supplies to those in need.

“We have truckloads of supplies coming,” he said.

But those who can't offer much when it comes to materials or other supplies are also stepping up by volunteering.

According to Khan, there were so many people volunteering to help at the mosques that he began sending them to help at city shelters instead.

Functioning at full capacity, the mosques are now helping “mostly families,” Khan explained. With many of them having children and even elderly relatives to care for, Khan said that Houston locals of all walks of life have sought shelter at the mosques. One of the mosques even had some of its classrooms turned into private rooms for families.

Islamic organizations across the country have also stepped up to help, sending in aid and money to those in need. ISGH has also put together a list of Muslim doctors who are on call to help anyone in need of care at these facilities.

But as more flooding is expected to hit Houston, Khan said that he hopes people across the country continue to pray for the city and its residents.

To those in Houston who may find themselves in need of a place to go, Khan added, they are more than welcome to stop by ISGH mosques.

“We have mosques all over the greater Houston area,” he said. “If you have no place to go, go to your neighborhood mosque.”

It's touching to see so many groups step up to help those in need. But it's also telling that many on the right aren't reporting on these mosques opening their doors to the victims. 

Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Stephanie Keith

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