Livonia–March 13â€”American Muslims have made inroads institutionally, with established mosques, advocacy groups, and media. There are also fledgling efforts to build funeral services and graveyards and other necessary forms of care. But the next level of institution building is to create self-sufficiency in medical and other care.
One group which has begun the work of providing community and social and medical services to Muslims is Muslim Family Services, a devision of ICNA Relief.
Muslim Family Services held a fundraiser on Saturday night at the Radisson Hotel in Livonia, hosting about 250 people for an evening which celebrated the accomplishments and looked at the future goals of the organization.
Muslim Family Services is led most prominently by Dr. Ali Suleiman, Ph.D, who studied at the University of Michigan and at the University of Madina Saudi Arabia. Dr. Asim Hussain (not to be confused with keynote speaker Altaf Husain), professor of Wayne State University, is also involved. Mr. Yousuf Vaid is also prominently involved. The organization focuses largely on providing social services, mainly specializing in marriage counseling, but also providing many other services including subsidizing funeral payments and providing food and other emergency care to Muslims in need.
The fundraising dinner began with Maghrib prayer, followed by a welcome by the MC Yousuf Vaid, followed by recitation of Qur`an by a young man, Nadeem Gulam, then dinner. Then there was a slide presentation by Steve Hernandez on the accomplishments of Muslim Family Services, followed by a keynote speech by Harvard Professor, Dr. Altaf Husain. Finally there was a fundraiser and a closing duâ€™a.
Mr. Hernandez spoke movingly of the accomplishments of Muslim Family Services, pointing out its cooperation with other groups, and its work to support the communityâ€™s education, activities to minimize family violence (in coordination with ACCESS and the State of Michigan and Wayne County), counseling of individuals, families, pre-marital and marital counseling, psychological counseling, anger management, and substance abuse counseling.
He spoke movingly about MFSâ€™s Janaza fund, which provides about seven funerals per year, at a cost of $3,000 each.
Dr. Altaf Husain also spoke movingly, focusing more on the future of Muslim healthcare in the United States, pointing out that the Muslim community faces similar challenges to those faced before by Catholics and Jews (such as dietary restrictions, discrimination, refused treatment, predatory missionary work by those who see vulnerable people of a different religion, and cultural conflicts)–who in the 1850s responded by building their own hospitals which exist to this day. Husain emphasized one such hospital, Mt. Sinai, which had its origins in the need of Jews to respond to the above challenges, but which now serves the wider community.
Muslim Family Services emphasized that they provide services in a professional and confidential manner, and invited all Muslims facing issues to come to them for assistance.