Believing that prayer is a connection to god everyone need in the time of difficulty, the people of Indiana, known as Hoosiers, have donated hundreds of prayer rugs, clothing donations and personal hygiene products to Afghan refugees.
“In any religion, when you’re going through a hardship time, who do you turn to? Your Creator,” Brikhna Atmar told Indy Star.
Atmar, a Zionsville resident volunteering as a translator at Camp Atterbury which welcomed 6,600 Afghan evacuees so far, said that daily prayers — and a clean, sacred space to practice them — is paramount. A prayer rug offers that pure area for worship.
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“That’s a time for us to connect with our Creator,” Atmar said.
Prayer rugs are “just as (much) a necessity as the clothing for a Muslim,” she says, especially with prayers five times a day.
Missing Prayer Rugs
Welcoming refugees, Indiana people stepped up to fill their needs from clothing donations, personal hygiene products, soccer balls and coloring books for children.
Yet, when Atmar went to the site two weeks ago, she said one elderly woman specifically mentioned the need for prayer rugs.
“She said, you know, she missed her ‘janamaz.’ She said, ‘I wish, you know, I wish the one thing I would have brought with me would have been a janamaz.’ ”
Hundreds of Afghan refugees fled the country after the fall of Kabul to Taliban in August 15.
With the refugees’ arrival, several Muslim groups have been leading effort to help refugees in their new homes.
The Muslim Alliance of Indiana has collected donations, including about 600 prayer rugs and Tasbeeh, or reflections beads, from both Muslim Hoosiers and various congregations.
People of other faiths also raced to provide needs of refugees.
Using donations from his congregation, John Van Nuys, a pastor at Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church in Crawfordsville, purchased 3,000 prayer rugs from an online wholesale retailer in New Jersey.
“Just imagine you had to leave everything of your faith (behind),” Van Nuys said. “If I can do anything to sort of help comfort or connect them more deeply with God through their faith, then that’s what you’re supposed to do.”