Religious organizations throughout the United States are joining other groups in supporting the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
A coalition of U.S. Islamic groups have formed the Muslim Hurricane Relief Task Force to help in the errort.
The Muslim Hurricane Relief Task Force was formed in Chicago Tuesday and pledged to raise 10 million dollars to help the victims of the devastating storm that hit the U.S Gulf Coast last week.
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, one of the member groups in the task force, says the coaltion will seek out ways where its contributions can be most effective. "The Islamic organizations that are part of the task force will do a needS assessment to see what needs there are for the people who are suffering so much in the Gulf Coast and then to evaluate what the American Muslim community can do to meet those needs," he said.
In addition to CAIR, the task force includes the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief, (ISNA), Kind Hearts, Life for RElief and Development, the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and Muslim Ummah of North America. Other groups may be added as the as the relief efforts develop.
Mr. Hooper says volunteers are already in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi, helping those in need. "There are already Muslim volunteers in the Gulf Coast area, there are people on the ground making some assessment at this point. There is already been more that two million dollars distributed in relief aid," he said.
CAIR spokesman Hooper says the Muslim Hurricane Relief Task Force has established guidelines so that contributors are assured that the money is reaching those in need. "Those guidelines include standards of financial accountability and transparency so people can be assured that anything they donate goes to the proper place and also that there won't be any proselytizing of the victims of the hurricane," he said.
Mr. Hooper says that on Sunday, September 11, volunteers from the Muslim relief task force will feed all the evacuees who have taken shelter at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.
There are an estimated seven million Muslims in the United States.