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Albany Fires: US Muslims Raise Funds for Displaced Families

Supporting their neighbors, the Muslim community in Albany, New York, has raised more than $17,000 and given another $7,000 to support those who lost everything in a fire that destroyed apartment buildings on Bradford Street last Monday, Times Union reported.

“The mosque gave each family $1,000 from its own funds. The donation campaign started immediately on Tuesday after the fires. Many of the donations are for only a few dollars,” said President Shamshad Ahmad, a fundraiser on LaunchGood.

Seven displaced families attend As-Salam Mosque, the Central Avenue mosque next to the devastated houses.

The mosque’s administration tried to reach out to everyone affected but has only been able to connect with families who regularly attend prayer times.

Around 60 people fled their burning houses including resettled refugees from Afghanistan, Burma and Iraq, Bangladesh and Nepal.

“A member of the mosque is collecting the money and will distribute cash directly to families to help them rebuild their lives for the second time. They lost everything. They don’t have any furniture. They don’t have any clothing. It’s up to them what kind of furniture and clothing they want to purchase. We’re trying to rehabilitate them and organize any kind of help for apartments,” Ahmed said.

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According to the fire service, seven homes were destroyed and an eighth was badly damaged after flames got into one attic and spread to the neighboring structures. Fire investigators suspect electrical problems caused the fire.

“A few families found new apartments already. Others are living temporarily with families while some still stay in hotels. Many families didn’t have renter’s insurance and one who bought the house five years ago didn’t have homeowner’s insurance,” said Ahmed.

“We aren’t actually limited to the community only. Anyone affected we’ll be trying to help them as well. We’re trying our best,” he continued.

Muslims in North America are currently observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Generosity and charity are generally blessed in Islamic Shari’ah, however, it’s specially blessed during the month of Ramadan. Multiplies rewards, for one thing, Ramadan is a blessed month where the rewards for all of our good deeds are multiplied.

Beyond that, there is the fact that our generosity at this time helps those who are fasting and engaging in extra worship during this special month.

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