Muslim American Activism

Homelessness, hunger, poverty, and a lack of clean water, sanitation and health care aren’t just international problems. These troubles also exist in American neighborhoods. In fact, nearly half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck. 


For decades, when local Islamic community centers across America have seen a need, they’ve responded by organizing food pantries, clinics and food drives for their neighbors. Contributing to charity is an integral part of Muslim religious practice.

Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), based in Alexandria, VA, organizes Day of Dignity events in communities, providing low-income and homeless individuals with access to free resources, including hygiene kits, food, haircuts, medical screening, financial advice, resume building, school backpacks full of supplies and more. In November, IRUSA gave thousands of turkeys to people in need nationwide, as well as grocery store gift cards. Every year, American Third Pillar Charities and IRUSA team up with the District of Columbia to offer back-to-school supplies and Thanksgiving turkeys and food boxes. 

The Queens, NY-based ICNA Relief offers hot meal distribution to the homeless across America, and food box doorstep deliveries. They also offer telemedicine to the uninsured and pop up health fairs and clinics. This year Washington, DC’s Masjid Muhammad, known as “the Nation’s Mosque,” organized, packaged, delivered and distributed over 15,000 pounds of groceries to the needy in DC, with help from the El-Hibri Foundation and ICNA Relief and many volunteers 

The Zakat Foundation of America, headquartered in Bridgeview, IL, was one of the first nonprofits to provide assistance to the vulnerable undocumented community when the COVID-19 crisis arrived in the U.S. Zakat provides medical supplies, financial assistance, food packages and hygiene kits.

American Muslims have also become a vital part of the U.S. disaster relief network.  After a devastating flood, fire or hurricane, Muslim volunteers can be found handing out food and water, cleaning up debris and helping rebuild. Muslim relief workers partner with the American Red Cross as well as faith-based efforts among Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran, Latterday Saints and other Christian groups. 

This year as millions of their fellow Americans lost their jobs due to COVID-19, Muslims devoted even more time to living out their faith. More than 38 million Americans live in poverty, including one in five children. To help vulnerable families fight COVID-19 this winter, Muslims are raising funds for warm clothing, coats, gloves, socks, as well as food.

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Islamic Circle of North America
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