Baltimore Muslims Host ‘Day of Dignity’, Give ‘Blessing’ to Neighborhood

Rolling a cart full of Honey Nut Cheerios, bread, and soup down a curb in West Baltimore, Margaret Little finally feels relieved, thanks to the supply of donated food from a Muslim charity group,  The Baltimore Sun reported.

This will surely help feed her grandchildren.

The 62-year-old women got the food cart for free as part of the “Day of Dignity,” actually a series of events around the country held by Islamic Relief USA, a California-based humanitarian group.

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In Baltimore, the mosque Masjid al Haqq in West Baltimore’s Upton neighborhood, hosted the Saturday event that also featured free health screenings, hot meals, haircuts, winter coats, and hygiene kits.

“There’s only one God with 1,000 names,” said the elderly woman. Of the congregants at Masjid al Haqq, she said, “they’ve been loving on people ever since I’ve known them.”

The Day of Dignity event was one of the first of more than a dozen across the country scheduled over the next six weeks. Others are planned in Washington, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, Detroit, Philadelphia, Seattle and Las Vegas.

Organizers said the work is needed as long as some communities remain neglected, even while the nation’s economy booms.

“We need more affordable remedial and continuing education services to help people learn better, especially when current economic and job megatrends call for it. And, we need to make expand access to health clinic services and nutritious food,” Islamic Relief USA President Anwar Khan wrote in a Baltimore Sun op-ed earlier this week.

“Until those structural problems are addressed, expect more Days of Dignity around the country.”

Residents in the surrounding neighborhood received the offerings with gratitude.

“It’s very nice of them to do all this,” said Beverly Williams. “This is a blessing.”

Established in 1943, Masjid al Haqq is the nation’s sixth oldest Muslim community and the mosque, where it’s been based since the late 1950s, is Baltimore’s oldest continually used Islamic place of worship and a city landmark.

According to a 2014 report from Pew Research, Muslims make up less than 1% of Missouri’s population.

There are around 70,000 Muslims in Maryland, United States, which is the tenth highest number of Muslims in any US state, as well as 1.4% of the population of Muslims in the country.

As one of the five pillars of Islam, Zakat or ritual charity is a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth. It’s a mandatory charitable contribution, the right of the poor to find relief from the rich, and is considered to be tax or obligatory alms.

In addition to the obligatory Zakah, Islamic Shari’ah also encourages giving in optional charity, called Sadaqah.