Archive for the ‘Community of Kindness’ Category
He was known to wear a large hat that made him look like a scarecrow. His scruffy overgrown salt-and-pepper beard resembled Dumbledoor from Harry Potter. He was an older Iranian immigrant with an accent like a foriegn-born university professor. His large frame cast a giant shadow and his commanding deep voice made some feel frightened. Yet, he always had a pleasant demeanor except when arguing for justice.
On Tuesday, after the night prayers were concluded he was found lying dead by a park bench in front of the mosque. He had passed away during the prayer service. We had lost one of the most regular members of our community.
He was an ever present personality. The kind of talkative eccentric that when you see him coming you kind of hope he won’t try to engage you in some esoteric conversation that will invariably last too long. He often rode a bicycle to the mosque, when he had one. He would deliver bread and fruits from neighborhood shops to make them available to members of the community. He was always present and controversially outspoken at town-hall and community meetings and the community leadership always allowed him to have a voice, even though often times his statements did not make sense in the context of our gatherings.
He was a voracious reader and regular user of the public library. He would often come to me talk about articles which he had read on the internet regarding a wide array of social and political issues.
He was a real germophobe, always concerned about physical contact. He would never pray side-by-side with the congregation and never shake hands. He would always greet me by bumping our forearms.
I found it strange that vehemently criticized the mosque for sheltering homeless people of all faiths in the mosque during the winter months. Although, he was poor we never found him begging or asking for charity.
You see, I believe he was chronically homeless and was probably battling some type of psychological or emotional disorder. He was one of those people who refused to be institutionalized (homeless shelter) even for his benefit or to seek treatment. He tried to find a spiritual home at a number of centers in our region but was not welcomed (or tolerated) until he came to Dar Al-Hijrah in Falls Church, Virginia. Perhaps because of the cultural atmosphere of Virginia and with the resources of Fairfax county he was able to make a life for himself.
After his death the authorities tried to find his next of kin. Finally, they released body to the masjid. He had no other family besides us and although he had no assets when it came time to pay for his burial expenses his mosque family came together and in a matter of minutes raised thousands of dollars for his burial. He was the most well-known and loved homeless person in our community.
Undoubtably he was an ever present part of us. May God have mercy on him and grant the finest home in the highest places in paradise. Those of us who God has given another day need to recommit ourselves faithfully to fight to end homelessness and to provide mental health services to all.
Imam Johari Abdul-Malik
Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center
Falls Church, VA
Posted September 17, 2013on:
On behalf of the Muslim community in the greater Washington area we extend our sincere condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones or who were injured in this most recent gun rampage in the Nation’s capital.
Below you will find an invitation to attend our annual program of peace in conjunction with the United Nation’s International Day of Peace, a day that is recognized throughout the world. Thank you for joining us in this program on Saturday morning. We will begin at 10:00 a.m. with light refreshments and fellowship after the program, a time in which we will ask that you share your thoughts on this question – How can we better educate our communities to live in peace? For those of you who need an ending time, definitely we should be finished everything by noon.
Thank you for sharing the invitation below and attached with your friends, family, acquaintances. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday for a peace-full day.
Heeding God’s Call of Greater Washington, a grass roots, multi-faith organization which has as its purpose to end gun violence, partners with Faith Presbyterian Church to present a program of peace in conjunction with the UN’s International Day of Peace, which is celebrated throughout the world. Using the theme set forth by the UN, Education for Peace, members of HGCGW and Faith PC invite all to attend the program:
Saturday, September 21, 2013, 10:00 a.m. until noon
Faith Presbyterian Church
4161 South Capitol Street SW
Washington, D. C. 20012
The keynote speaker, Nardyne Jefferies, will share with all present her thoughts and feelings about how the death of her 16-year-old daughter in a 2010 drive-by shooting not far from the church has affected her and how it has called her to ACT. The Step Team from Matthews Memorial Baptist Church will help all learn how to “step into peace.” A representative of the Metropolitan Police Department will share information on crimes in the District related to guns. All people in the Metro area who lost their lives due to gun violence so far during 2013 will be memorialized by audience participation. Two of the speakers will share Words of Peace in Spanish and in English. There will be singing of hymns and prayers representative of the diversity encouraged by HGCGW. Light refreshments will follow the program during which time continued opportunities for fellowship and sharing will focus on the question, “How can we better educate our communities to live in peace?”
For those of you unfamiliar with the location of the church, coming from VA or MD, you probably would want to use the 495 Beltway and exit Indian Head Hwy North. Indian Head Hwy turns into South Capitol Street as you cross into DC. The church is not even two miles north of the Beltway exit and is on the left on the corner of South Capitol and Chesapeake Street. Watch out for the speed limit signs. For those of you coming from DC, find South Capitol Street and just follow it until you reach the church on the right at the corner of South Capitol and Chesapeake. Parking is available at the church. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This winter, beginning December 2nd 2008, The Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center is partnering with Volunteers for America and the Fairfax County Government to provide a warm, safe and caring place for the homeless in Northern Virginia. After searching for a house of worship to cover the missing nights in the schedule, Sandra (Sandy) S. Chisholm, Community Interfaith Liaison, Fairfax County Department of Systems Management for Human Services, came to Dar Al-Hijrah’s Mohamed Abdelillah, Social Service chairman, and asked him to join the participating area churches in providing temporary overnight shelter for the homeless in Falls Church. Dar Al-Hijrah was quick to take up the call.
“The overnight shelter will be open every night during the winter months and members of our congregation will be providing breakfast for our homeless neighbors each morning, Islam teaches us that it is our duty to care for our neighbors” said Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, who serves as Director of Outreach for the center.
Thornell Hancock, Volunteers for America’s Development Specialist/Hypothermia Program Co-coordinator for the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter and his team will staff the area shelters with the help of community volunteers. Some of the homeless are “the working poor, they may be under-employed or just can’t afford the rent in this area and wind-up homeless”. says Mr. Hancock, “Some of just made the unfortunate ‘life choices’ “.
Those in need of shelter must register at Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter, there they have dinner and then are taken the short van ride to the mosque or other sites. An array of social services, comprehensive health and employment services are provided throughout the night’s program. “This program is designed to help people transition from homelessness into permanent housing” says Imam Johari. The program will run until the spring.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that over 35.5 million people in the United States live in households considered to be food insecure. Of these 35.5 million, 22.9 million are adults (10.4 percent of all adults) and 12.6 million are children (17.2 percent of all children). Each year, the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center in association with the Muslim American Society, makes an effort to fight hunger here in our country by providing thousands of pounds of meat to needy families and individuals by raising support and awareness of this problem on their annual Humanitarian Day.
“As a faith based initiative, we want to help the community to develop an awareness of the problem of hunger as well as address it,” said Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, Director of Outreach for the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center. “It is for this reason that we continuously reach out to the entire community including people of other faiths. Hunger knows no religion”
On Saturday, June 28th, the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center continued its tradition of community service and fighting against hunger by distributing over 300 meals to needy individuals and families. Additionally, the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center has a renown Social Services program which feeds dozens of needy families in the local community. Since its inception, the DAH Social Services program has provided food, clothing, prayer, counseling, and community referrals to those living in poverty.
June 7th, 2008 from 10:00AM-2:00PM on the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center Campus.
Dar Al Hijrah has been a primary sponsor of the Culmore Cleanup since its inception and we proudly participated once again this year as part of the calling of our faith to participate in our community
Pictures of our teams are on facebook group
Cross posted at PIR’s blog