Thank you for helping Somalia
By Hassan Isilow
It is not an exaggeration for one to say that, the South African Muslim community is generous. It is the absolute truth. Members of this community are kind-hearted. And some have even gone to the extent of donating their last pennies, because they don’t want to see a starving neighbour or Friend. It’s very rare to find a community with such values.
This month, several humanitarian organisations made an appeal to the community to contribute funds to help the starving people of Somalia. I’m reliably told by friends working for some of these humanitarian organisations, that the response was good.
According to aid agencies up to 12 million people living in remote areas across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are faced with starvation. Most of the affected areas are inhabited by Muslims, which means they need urgent help especially now that the holy month of Ramadan is fast approaching.
Sheikh Farah, Director in charge of relief services for Africa Muslim Agency in Somalia, told me in a telephone conversation that his organisation was feeding close to 30,000 people every day. He said they had also distributed hundreds of tonnes of food Aid in different parts of Somalia since the start of the famine.
Meanwhile, Jane Cocking, a Humanitarian Director for Oxfam, recently said in a statement that this was the worst food crisis of the 21st Century. Jane expresses fears that large numbers of lives could be lost if humanitarian organisations, Governments and well-wishers did not immediately respond.
However, I must say that I’m impressed by the Solidarity of the local Muslim community. Last week, I attended Friday prayers at the Mayfair Jum’aah mosque in Johannesburg, where I witnessed real Muslim solidarity. At the entrance of the mosque, stood two huge blue drums written on “Donations for Somalia”. As I dropped in my donation, I asked myself when the two drums would fill with money. I stood a side to see how many people would contribute. I was excited to see thousands of people dropping in their donations. Later on Friday evening, I took a flight to Cape Town. A friend picked me at the airport and we drove straight home to Bellville –which is also known as “little Mogadishu”. While, in Bellville I realised that the local Somali community was also contributing funds to help their starving people in Somalia. Despite being refugees, the Somali community in the Western Cape generously contributed whatever they could afford to help their starving people. I’m told in just a few days the Cape Somalis managed to raise a huge amount of money. Despite their political and clan differences, the Somali community is known for being united during difficult times. On this note, I wish many happy returns to all those who contributed in helping the starving people of Somalia.