Muslim community in Orlando announces renewed commitment to outreach following mass shooting

In recognition of the far-reaching impact of the devastating attack at the Pulse nightclub on June 12, the Husseini Islamic Center has announced a renewed commitment to expanding its community outreach initiatives. The announcement was made by Inayat Walli, President of the Husseini Islamic Center, located in the suburb of Sanford, just north of Orlando.

The goals of the enhanced outreach efforts include helping with community healing, assisting those wounded and recovering (including the families and loved ones of the victims), strengthening its role as a community partner, and, embarking upon a series of collaborative activities and educational programs.

“Our congregation and leadership are dismayed by this tragedy. As people of faith, we believe that all human beings have the right to safety and security and that all human life is equal and sacred,” Walli said.

Helping the community heal

On the day of the tragedy, members of the Husseini Islamic Center mobilized and spread the word to donate blood collectively at the downtown One Blood center. Others brought and distributed food and water to the hundreds standing in line to donate blood.

This past weekend (June 18 and 19) members from the congregation stood in solidarity with the victims by taking a stand against violence and hate of all forms. On Saturday, 120 youth from the Center came together to organize and attend a fundraising event, “Muslims for Peace: a Solidarity Event in Remembrance of those Whose Lives were Lost.” The event raised a total of $5,000.

“Not only did the entire community help raise funds for the victims, they participated in genuine and heartfelt acts of kindness and compassion—a fundamental tenet of our faith,” Walli noted.

The observance featured a short program by visiting speaker Sheikh Nuru Mohammed, who condemned the attack, and encouraged all to participate in the interactive stations setup at the venue. People had the opportunity to write personalized letters for the impacted, as well as create unique hand prints and posters to represent their solidarity. T-shirts were designed, printed, and sold with funds directed to the victims.

The initial fundraiser last Saturday was the precursor to a Candlelight Vigil on Sunday, where community members carpooled or rode on buses arranged for by the Husseini Islamic Center. More than 160 members gave out snacks, water and flowers at the vigil held at Lake Eola Park.

“Our presence there was felt, appreciated and the response of love was overwhelming. It was an evening of unity, peace, courage and understanding, a beautiful beginning towards building bridges and relationships in our communities and our country,” Walli added.

Building bridges and strengthening bonds

In addition to the Solidarity Fundraising Event and Candlelight Vigil, the Husseini Islamic Center will:

  • Contribute to a fund organized by a coalition of American Muslim organizations that will assist victims and the families of the victims most affected by the tragic event.
  • Organize a blood drive for congregation members to donate blood to those in need at hospitals across the city.
  • Initiate one-on-one meetings with Orlando community leaders, directed at finding new ways to enhance greater understanding among one another.
  • Work more closely with interfaith groups in community outreach, including how to diffuse distrust among groups in our society and enhance one of America’s real strengths— its diversity of cultures, faiths, backgrounds and viewpoints.

“I personally invite the Orlando and Florida community to visit our Mosque. Our members are among your neighbors, doctors, teachers and public servants,” Walli said. “We are open to all people regardless of race, national origin, socioeconomic status or sexual orientation. You will see that a full range of views are respected, appreciated and explored among our congregation.”

About Husseini Islamic Center

The Husseini Islamic Center (HIC) is a Muslim community located in the suburb of Sanford, just north of Orlando. Established in 1990, HIC is dedicated to worship, education, and community service in the Central Florida area. For more information, please visit: http://orlandocenter.org.

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