Thursday, September 22, 2005

Help the Muslim Academy of New Orleans Rebuild

To Our Dear Brothers and Sisters across the Nation and Around the World:
(From Professor Nabil Abukhader-President of Muslim Academy and Vice-President of Masjid Al-Tawbah, both located in Gretna, Louisiana a suburb of New Orleans)

Al'humdulillah for everything.

As all of you are aware, the disaster of hurricane Katrina has affected nearly all of the metropolitan New Orleans area. Our community of approximately 10,000+ Muslims has been hard hit.

The severity of the event has scattered many of us around the country, but the majority are still in Louisiana and, in particular, in the city of Baton Rouge. We are working hard to take care of each other to the best of our capability, but the devastation is beyond anyone's imagination. Al'humdulillah, brothers and sisters from all over have come to the aid of their fellow Muslims evacuated to their area. Unfortunately, many brothers, sisters and entire families remain in shelters because there is not enough housing available. Fortunately, we haven't seen serious injuries, but the shelters are crowded and many of the kids are sick from this environment; some have resorted to sleeping in their cars.

Many New Orleans area Muslims have lost their homes, businesses, jobs and some have lost everything. It is our duty and responsibility to help them rebuild their lives.

The West Bank of New Orleans in Jefferson Parish is the least damaged area (Al'humdulillah only minimal flooding and moderate wind damage). The community is pleading with us to get Masjid Al-Tawbah and Muslim Academy up and running so that they can begin to get their lives back to normal. Many of the children are still not registered in other schools because their families are not settled anywhere and they are without a place to live. We enrolled less than 40 kids at the Islamic school in Baton Rouge; it is a small facility and could not accommodate many of them. The rest we would like to keep out of public schools especially since they are so overcrowded now because of the tragedy. Most importantly, I don't want to see the kids lose a year of their school life.

Muslim Academy (Luqman Educational Center) has 192 students enrolled this year from PreK to 9th grade. The school buildings have suffered comparatively minor damage:

- a section of the roof has been lost
- 3 air conditioning units which were on the roof are lost
- a portion of the south wall collapsed but the framing is intact
- one portable classroom trailer (14' x 40') will be replaced

Masjid Al-Tawbah, located adjacent to the school, has also experienced damage:

- the south wall of the Masjid has collapsed onto the classroom trailer
- roof damage (extent unknown) that allowed rainwater to enter the Masjid and
led to the collapse of the drop ceiling and damaged the entire carpet.

Al'humdulillah, all facilities are in relatively good condition considering the power of the storm.

The Board will try to open the school by Monday, October 3rd in'sha'Allah (this is the same restart date tentatively planned for some of the local public school system). We have running water, sewage service and natural gas already. We hope to have electricity in the next two weeks in our area of the West Bank.

In planning how to achieve this goal, we must face the following reality:

The tuition is $250/student. Now, most of the families have lost their source of income. The school has no outside funding and has always been dependent on revenue from tuition and minor fundraising. According to our data, we believe we will have approximately 100 students whose parents will no longer be able to afford the tuition under their current circumstances.

100 students x $250/month x 10 months = $250,000 in lost tuition

We estimate $70,000 in building repairs to the school and Masjid.

Emergency funding needed is roughly $320,000

We ask everyone to help us heal these families and put these children back in their full-time Islamic School in order to normalize their lives.

For those of you willing to help, please send your donation to:

Luqman Educational Center/DBA Muslim Academy
Whitney Bank
Account# 715428535
Routing# 065000171
Gretna, LA 70056

Or mail your check to:

Muslim Academy
P.O. Box 2891
Gretna, LA 70054

As things become more settled, I will try to keep all of you updated as to the status of the Muslim community in New Orleans and in the surrounding area.

Your Brother in Islam,

Professor Nabil Abukhader
Muslim Academy/Masjid Al-Tawbah
Gretna, Louisiana
504-813-7870 cell
504-433-1960 school office


At 12:21 PM, Blogger Ann said...

Assalaamu alaikum,

I've forwarded this letter to some newspapers and charity committees, and I might see if my children's school could do something... insha'allah something will come of it.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger izzymo said...

Walaikum salaam and Jazak Allah,

Insha'Allah, they will get some help from our Kuwaiti brothers and sisters.


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