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Gaza Aid Urgency: American Muslims Act

American Muslims Mobilize for Gaza Relief during Ramadan

Nadia Duwaik, a 24-year-old Palestinian American, is more affected by Ramadan this year than in the past.

Duwaik told CNN her typical anticipation for Ramadan, which she usually approaches with excitement for family rituals like nightly iftar gatherings. However, as the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Duwaik’s sentiments towards the holy month have been tinged with complexity due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict and the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Since the October 7 Hamas attack, the siege imposed by Israel on Gaza has resulted in a death toll exceeding 30,000 and left around 70,000 others injured, as reported by the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

Amidst escalating desperation and Israel’s stringent controls on aid entering Gaza, humanitarian organizations are sounding alarms over the deteriorating conditions. The United Nations warns that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are on the brink of famine.

Responding to the crisis, the European Union announced the establishment of an emergency maritime aid corridor from Cyprus to Gaza, with support from allies like the US. Additionally, President Joe Biden disclosed plans for the US Military to construct a temporary port along the Gaza coast to facilitate the delivery of essential humanitarian aid.

The urgency for aid intensified after more than 100 individuals were killed earlier this month when Israeli soldiers opened fire on civilians gathered around food aid trucks, according to eyewitnesses and Palestinian officials. Although Israel confirmed its forces fired on the crowd, they disputed the accounts provided by eyewitnesses and officials.

Gaza’s entire population, comprising approximately 2.2 million people, faces severe food insecurity levels, with child malnutrition rates surpassing those of any other region worldwide, as reported by the World Food Programme.

As the crescent moon heralds the start of Ramadan, American Muslims like Duwaik need to uphold a fundamental tenet of their faith known as zakat, or giving to charity, to aid Gaza’s relief efforts.

Jad Shaheen, also a Palestinian American, emphasizes the worsening humanitarian crisis, underscoring the necessity for increased assistance. He stresses that essential resources like food and water are being withheld from Gaza’s inhabitants, exacerbating their plight.

Duwaik has already contributed to organizations such as the Palestinian Children’s’ Relief Fund and the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees. This Ramadan, she plans to forgo birthday gifts and urge friends to donate to nonprofits supporting relief efforts instead.

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In 2023, Islamic Relief garnered over $30 million in online donations during Ramadan, demonstrating a heightened willingness to give during this period, according to a spokesperson for the organization.

Awrad Saleh from Islamic Relief underscores their commitment to providing aid throughout Ramadan, including hot meals and vegetable provisions for suhoor, ensuring that fasting individuals have access to essential sustenance.

Despite differing religious affiliations, individuals like Nasma Shehadeh, a Christian from Bethlehem residing in New York, extend support to aid agencies like Islamic Relief to assist Muslims in need during Ramadan.

Human Appeal, a charity in Gaza since 1991, has intensified its efforts to address the escalating humanitarian crisis. They are establishing a mobile kitchen to provide meals for fasting families during Ramadan.

While donations have enabled Human Appeal to deliver essential supplies, concerns persist regarding the efficacy of aid delivery channels.

As diplomatic efforts falter, Noor Traina, a consultant in Washington, DC, originally from Libya, emphasizes the need for sustained pressure on lawmakers to address the crisis in Gaza.

For Traina and many others, Ramadan is about fasting, giving, and advocating for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid for Palestinians, reflecting the spirit of Ramadan in challenging times.

The situation in Gaza, particularly regarding the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, is complex and deeply entrenched in historical, political, and social factors. Both sides have experienced significant suffering and loss, and the civilian populations, including Palestinians and Israelis, bear the brunt of the consequences.

Regarding Israel’s actions, they have cited security concerns, including the threat posed by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, as justification for their policies and military operations in the region. However, some critics argue that Israel’s blockade and restrictions on Gaza have led to severe humanitarian consequences for the Palestinian population, including shortages of essential goods and services.

It’s essential to approach the situation with empathy and understanding for all affected parties and to seek peaceful and constructive solutions through dialogue, diplomacy, and international cooperation. Humanitarian aid and support for initiatives aimed at alleviating the suffering of civilians, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity, are crucial in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and promoting stability and peace in the region.

Junaid Khan

Junaid Khan

Junaid Khan is an expert on harassment laws since 2009. He is a passionate advocate for victims of harassment and works to educate the public about harassment laws and prevention. He is also a sought-after speaker on human resource management, relationships, parenting, and the importance of respecting others.

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