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U.S. Muslims Donate Aid for Asian Quake | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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TRENTON, N.J., AP -Kosar Kazmi planned to journey to Pakistan after getting devastating news from a brother — many of their relatives had been killed in the earthquake.

Kazmi said his mother, a brother, the brother”s wife and two kids, and an aunt and her two sons all were killed when the tremor hit.

&#34I”m trying to help my family that”s still there,&#34 said Kazmi, 32, of New Milford, who was to fly on Sunday. &#34Most of them are injured. They”re on the ground outside.&#34

As relatives in the United States mourned victims of the deadly South Asian earthquake, worshippers on Sunday prayed and donated tens of thousands of dollars for relief efforts.

Aid group Islamic Relief USA raised about $130,000 from those attending Ramadan services after the earthquake struck Saturday. The 7.6-magnitude quake near the Pakistan-India border killed at least 20,000 people and the death toll was expected to rise.

&#34Ramadan is the month of mercy and encourages Muslims to give to the poor,&#34 said Mohamed Abulmagd, general manager of the group”s U.S. office in Burbank. &#34Now, with this crisis, I expect they will give more for this cause.&#34

The group put out a call to the Muslim community for $10 million worldwide, he said. It hopes to raise about $2 million from communities in the United States. Earthquake victims need tents, blankets and medical supplies, Abulmagd said.

In New Jersey, the Dar Ul Islah mosque in Teaneck took up a collection during Saturday night”s Ramadan services. In metropolitan Detroit, home to thousands of Muslims, the quake was a topic of discussions at mosques.

&#34Certainly, we will hold fundraisers. We always do that when there is a tragedy,&#34 said Mahdi Ali, an immigrant from Yemen and a member of the board of the American Moslem Society mosque in Dearborn.

Many mosques also were trying to determine if any members had been affected. Members of the Islamic Center of Claremont in Pomona, Calif., were &#34shocked and distressed&#34 at the death toll, said Radwan Hafuda, vice president of the center.

&#34Right now, we”re observing the news with sorrow and we”re checking with our community members to see if anyone or his family has been impacted,&#34 Hafuda said.

In New York, Amjad Iqbal, 30, of Brooklyn, was struggling with whether to return to Pakistan. He nearly lost his cousin, who was in a college building damaged by the quake. The 19-year-old woman survived her injuries but remained in shock. He was going to send money to help his family and other victims.

&#34We want to go back, but if we go back, what do I do?&#34 said Iqbal, who runs the Pakistan Tea House in Manhattan.

At the Islamic Center of Livermore, Calif., members met Sunday afternoon to discuss relief efforts, said Waseem Sufi, a volunteer at the center about 47 miles southeast of San Francisco.

The center has 75 families, about 20 of them from Pakistan. Some of the options being considered by the center include assisting the Red Cross or Islamic charities, raising money or even providing blankets to earthquake victims.

&#34We need to determine what”s needed so we can do the right thing rather than trying to do everything,&#34 Sufi said. &#34It”s sad, and we will try to help in whatever way we can.&#34