(September 7, 2009) – Circumstances often inspire ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
Shah Nawaz Husain was disturbed by all the negative things being said about Muslims and the religion of Islam in the post 9/11 world.
The retired Brampton engineer decided he was going to do something to change how his religion was being portrayed.
“Our detractors were defining us as evil, malicious and violent people,” Husain says. “I wanted to show what Islam really was, through compassionate deeds.”
So Husain set about starting the MuslimServ charity with the goal of feeding the poor in Canada by asking Muslims to direct some of their charitable giving to his agency.
Formed in 2004, MuslimServ asks Muslims to direct a portion of their religiously mandated yearly donations to the charity.
Husain then uses the donated money, the majority of which comes through the internet, to purchase meat products which he, in turn, delivers to food banks.
The two major campaigns of MuslimServ take place during the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, when Muslims generally give their yearly charity (zakat) and, two months later during the Eid Al Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) when donations are given to perform an animal sacrifice to commemorate the Abrahamic legacy.
The Greater Toronto Area is the main focus for the charity where, once again this Ramadan, donations are being used to purchase chicken every week during the month to deliver to the food bank.
Last year, MuslimServ donated 14,000 lbs of halal chicken to the Daily Bread Food Bank.
Although the response to the charity has been good, Husain has to sell his charity to Muslims who think that poverty in their home countries should be supported first.
“Our limitation has been that many feel that greater need exists in countries from where we came from,” he says. “There is also perception that government supplements in Canada are enough to live on. “
Husain is also challenged by having to market his project to a highly diverse Muslim community.
“Our other limitation has been difficulty in reaching Muslims. It is very expensive to advertise. We have to creatively use the small assets we have to reach the community.”
Most of MuslimServ’s current donors are attracted by the charity’s emphasis on helping those close to home which they see as an important part of their religion which encourages Muslims to be among those who benefit their society.
And with recognition such as this, Shah Nawaz Husain hopes that more Muslims will support his charity.
More information on the charity and on its Ramadan Chicken Campaign can be found at www.MuslimServ.com