Hundreds are to gather yesterday in Dearborn at one of Michigan's biggest mosques for a celebration of Islam's prophet that will include the wrapping of gifts for needy children. The event is one of several held in recent days by Muslims in metro Detroit and around the world to mark the birthday of Prophet Mohammed.
"Charity and helping our fellow man was a cornerstone of the prophet's mission," said Kassem Allie, with the Islamic Center of America. "One of our faith's primary concerns is to help our fellow man. We have a duty to help those in need."
Today's event is the latest effort by the Islamic Center of America to help the poor. Last month, members distributed about 1,500 pairs of shoes for needy children with the help of nearby churches that sit close to the mosque off Ford Road in Dearborn.
The event today is titled "Gifts of the Messenger," referring to both the gifts of Mohammed and the gifts being distributed, which include clothes, toys, boots and shoes. About 1,000 are expected to attend the day-long gathering.
A celebration for the prophet is held every year at the mosque, but this year, the young members will wrap the gifts to make it a more participatory experience. The wrapping of the gifts will be followed by a lecture about Mohammed and prayers.
"We want to provide an opportunity for our families to come and celebrate here at our mosque," Allie said.
Also this week, two Muslim groups — the Michigan Muslim Community Council, and Islamic Relief USA, the U.S. branch of a Muslim charity in the U.K. — announced they are donating $100,000 to help Detroiters who can't afford to pay their water bills. Leaders with the two groups said Wednesday they're giving the money to the Detroit Water Fund and Wayne Metro Community Action Agency.
The efforts are keeping in line with Mohammed's message, said Muslim leaders.
"Part of his message was charity," Allie said. "Take care of your neighbors, the less fortunate and ... vulnerable."
Anwar Khan, CEO of Islamic Relief USA, said "it is important to us in our faith to help our neighbors."
Source : Detroit press