As a child growing up in Pakistan, Blaine resident Nasreen Chaudhry knew first hand what it felt like to be forced from her home.
It was the mid 1950s when religious conflicts between India and Pakistan forced Muslims – including Chaudhry and her family – to pack their belongings and move. So when she heard recent media accounts of nearly 20 million people being displaced by flooding there, she said she felt particular need to reach out and help.
“When I was growing up people just left their homes with all their belongings in buggies and were forced to start all over again,” she said. “That was political thing and this is a natural disaster but it’s the same thing. Most of those people won’t go back to their original homes; they’re basically homeless.”
And as Chaudhry and her husband, Maqbool, observe the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, they thought it was a perfect time to act. The couple is helping to organize a fundraising dinner at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, September 5 in Bellingham.
All proceeds will go to Islamic Relief USA to benefit Pakistani flood victims.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which practicing Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn until sunset. During this time, worshipers ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.
“The month of Ramadan is a great challenge to those who have the compassion to do good things,” Maqbool said. “We’ve been watching it on the news and we thought we should do whatever little we can do about it. It’s also an opportunity to bring people in the community together and share a meal. In all the craziness that’s going on in the world, we need to do as much good as possible because we are all connected.”
The event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sunday, September 5 in the second floor meeting space in the RE Store building at 2309 Meridian Street in Bellingham.
Dinner will include Egyptian and Pakistani food as well as a presentation by the national group Islamic Relief about work relief currently being done in Pakistan.
Those who cannot attend to the dinner are welcome to donate online at www.islamicreliefusa.org
or by calling 888-479-4968.
For more information about Sunday's event, call 360/961-3576.
Photo by Tara Nelson