SA mosques join global Ramadan campaign to feed Syrian refugees

17 May 2019 - 16:28 By SUMIN WOO
Volunteers filled a shipping container with bags of rice at the Muir Street Mosque in Cape Town on May 17 2019.
Volunteers filled a shipping container with bags of rice at the Muir Street Mosque in Cape Town on May 17 2019.
Image: Esa Alexander

As Muslims approach the halfway mark in observing Ramadan, SA mosques are contributing their share of good.  

Since Ramadan began on May 5, more than a dozen mosques across the country have filled 18 shipping containers with bags of rice and flour to send to Syrian refugee camps.

"It’s always a good experience assisting the underprivileged and those who are in need, wherever they may be," said Sheikh Mogamat Moerat, as volunteers packed the last container leaving Cape Town at the Muir Street Mosque in District Six on Friday. 

"It's an honour for us. I think every single congregant that comes here has donated."

The SA mosques joined 47 others in the UK and France to work with the organisation Muslim Hands. The group's Big Aid Convoy, in its third year of sending relief during Ramadan, is planning to send 84 containers in total.  

SA mosques have collected numerous bags of rice and flour during the first 12 days of Ramadan.
SA mosques have collected numerous bags of rice and flour during the first 12 days of Ramadan.
Image: Esa Alexander

"People are more giving during the month of Ramadan," said Imraan Roomaney, manager of Muslim Hands' SA affiliate. "There’s a great need where it is being given. People are even requesting we do it for other countries."

The group plans to expand its relief efforts by collaborating with mosques from Canada, Australia and the US.

"Year-round, we do a lot of care for orphans and pensioners, helping the sick, feeding the poor, educational projects, water projects," said Roomaney, adding that people interested in helping Muslim Hands could volunteer or donate to specific initiatives.

Muslim Hands SA was established in 1996 and has contributed to the Big Aid Convoy for the past two years. The containers are scheduled to arrive in Syria by cargo ship in six to eight weeks.


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