Just last month, all the major Muslim Organizations in Houston came together at the AndalucÃa Center to form a collaborative platform called â€œHouston Unitedâ€.
Main objective of â€œHouston Unitedâ€ is organize events and create opportunities for the Muslims of Houston, to join hands with the interfaith communities of the Greater Houston Region, in showing compassion towards the less fortunate, those afflicted with unfortunate mishaps, interaction & relation building among people of various communities of the one Houstonian society, meaningful interface of the Muslims of Greater Houston with various media outlets of Houston so as to have regular dialogue with them, bring forward the stance of Muslims on various societal issues including education, security, terrorism, etc.; and try to do all that is good as per the cherished faith-based values.
â€œHouston Unitedâ€ is a collaborative platform, where the Muslim Organizations are considered as the sponsoring & organizing entities, while other faith-based organizations are partners.
All the sponsoring organizations will continue to work independent & do the excellent job of providing services to the society & the community; while this platform is for all of these sponsoring organizations to come together, and based on consensus, work together on certain identified common areas to benefit the community and the larger society around us: Remember there are many Blessings in Unity & Collaborations.
The first activity of this collaborative was the â€œWalk For the First Respondersâ€ held on Saturday, June 22, 2013, between 8:30am and 10:00am.
More than 650 Houstonians participated in the walk, majority of whom were Muslims.
Despite the summer heat, and early morning of a Saturday, where preference is to maybe stay indoors & rest; these persons, who showed up in considerable numbers in front of the City Hall to show their solidarity towards the first responders, who to keep all of us safe & secure, daily give their time, energies, sweat, blood, and even lately their lives, where four died in the motel blaze on US 59 and twelve lost their lives in West Texas: So indeed these 650 participants wrote the history by attending this proactive event, organized by the Muslim Community.
This is not the first time Houston has seen the humble spirit and true values of the Muslim Community: When Houston received the guests from Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina, community showed up in large numbers to serve these guests, on the assigned day for the Muslims of Houston, at the George R. Brown Convention Center, on September 11, 2005.
That was indeed a memorable day: And so is this day of June 22, 2013.
September 11, 2005 was a day assigned by the larger society to the Muslims to serve, and Muslims most positively responded.
This time on Saturday, June 22, 2013, Muslim Community decided after a consensus process to do a proactive event for the First Responders of Houston and West Texas, and participation was again appreciable By the Grace of God.
This was a one-mile walk in the Hermann Square Park and the four streets around the Houston City Hall, to raise funds for the families of fallen heroes, the firefighters.
Emcee of the event was Waliya Lari, News Producer of the Local ABC Affiliate Channel 13; and speakers included Dr. Jim Bankston of St. Paulâ€™s United Methodist Church; Rabbi Steve Gross of the Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism; Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi, a native Houstonian & renowned Islamic Scholar; Honorable Congressman AL Green (gave congressional proclamation), and Staff Member of the traveling Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee Office (also gave a congressional proclamation).
Proceeds of $7,123.00 from this Houston United Walk will be given to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and The Texas Line of Duty Death Taskforce.
This event was open to all people to participate and donations of $7 or more with a complimentary event T-Shirt, gave the chance for everyone to participate in a positive manner.
The short one mile walk started ten minutes ahead of time at 9:05am in front of the City Hall Annexâ€™s reflection pool, and was routed from Walker Street to Bagby Street to McKinney Street to Smith Street, and back to Walker Street, concluding in front of the reflecting pool; followed by a rally featuring short speeches by the cityâ€™s most recognized faith leaders and civil servants: The rally ended at 10:05am.
This event was designed to be a platform for all people of our city to come together to show our appreciation for the brave heroes, who risk everything to save our lives.
Dr. Omar Khan, a lead organizer for the event said: â€œOne of the best things we can to do in times of tragedy is serve others. We hope that this effort has helped bringing the people of our city together and will ease some of the sufferings of those, who have lost their loved ones.â€
This event was originally conceived as Houstonians for Bostonians, and meant to be a response to the Boston Marathon terrorist attack.
Organizers later repurposed the event after learning of the tremendous hardships being faced by the families of the fallen volunteer firefighters of West Texas and the more recent tragic news that four Houston Firefighters died battling a hotel fire. Donations can be made at http://houstonunited.eventbrite.com
INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES: Interviews with the organizers can be doneâ€¦
Composition of the Houston United
Houston United is a groundbreaking initiative by a loose coalition of Houston based Muslim & interfaith organizations.
It is designed to encourage people of faith to practice their values, by supporting a great cause.
Although invited, many organizations could not join in this effort at this time as sponsors or partners: Their invitation is still open.
On this platform of Houston United, the organizations that have joined as sponsors include many, like Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Interfaith Ministries, Circle of North America (ICNA), Clear Lake Islamic Center (CLIC), Helping Hand For Relief & Development (HHRD), Muslim American Society (MAS), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), ALNoor Society of Greater Houston (ASGH), Muslim Council of USA (MCU), Amanah Refugees Services, Islamic Learning Foundation (ILF), Mercy Centers (Masjid AL Quraan), AndalucÃa Center, Islam in Spanish, EL Farouq Foundation, Muslim Observer, Pakistan News, Pakistan Chronicle, Pakistan Journal, Pakistan Post, Pakistan Times, Radio Light of Islam, Radio Sangeet, Radio Naya Andaz, and many others.
Please remember the humanity in your sincere and humble prayers; and that God ALMighty Accept these small efforts of the Houston United.