TEXAS – Severely flooded by Hurricane Harvey, Houston residents have shared gratitude to Arab and Muslim Americans, who rushed to open their mosques to shelter them and offer heaps of donations to those in need.
“We’re family at this point,” Housna Kazrie, a young Houston resident staying at the Brand Lane Islamic Center, told The AANews on Thursday, September 7.
“We’re enjoying it here and we’re able to be comfortable with everybody around us. They’re all people we know, so I feel safe and can leave stuff in my room.”
At least 25 inches of rain has fallen in parts of Southeast Texas since Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport a few days ago, shattering several previous rainfall records.
Many highways and streets throughout the region are flooded, making normal travel impossible and forcing first responders to perform over 1,000 rescues over the weekend.
Immediately after the flooding, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) launched a new relief campaign to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey, urging US Muslims to assist their fellow Americans in this time of need and distress.
Islamic Relief also sent out a Hurricane Harvey appeal.
As Hurricane Harvey was brewing, a Lebanese restaurant remained open to offer all police officers and firefighters a resting place and free meals.
More than 1,000 of them showed up to one of Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill’s locations on Saturday, an employee who said his name was Fred, told The AANews.
Kazrie said they are “doing great” as they continue to receive all the resources they need, and that the center is kept clean.
Most of those at the center came with their entire families, each with a small bag carrying one or two shirts, pants, pajamas, maybe a tablet and their most expensive belongings.
She said the mosque is still there with open hands for anybody to pick up supplies, and she has been steadily inviting her non-Muslim friends to stay there, as its large capacity can shelter at least 100 more.
“It’s hard to be away and know you might lose everything you have,” Kazrie said.
“But there’s no other option. We just need to help each other out. It doesn’t even matter at this point. During this hard time, the community came together.”