Valuable community lifelines
Across the state, volunteers have been pulling together to provide basic, daily necessities that have now become luxuries, distributing everything from food, to diapers, wipes, hygiene items, toiletries, toothbrushes, toothpaste, towels, baby food and formula, water, and soap. Back-to-school drives have doubled.
The Muslims of Muhammad Mosque No. 45, along with the 10,000 Fearless Emergency Response Team and My Queendom Come female empowerment and mentoring organization, have been providing needed items, along with cleaning and some medical supplies.
Student Minister Abdul Haleem Muhammad (third from left) of Muhammad Mosque No. 45 in Houston with Fruit of Islam who have helped in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by collecting food, supplies and much more for area residents.
Sixty-four volunteers aided 35 individuals at Muhammad Mosque No. 45, the Nation of Islam’s Southwest Regional Headquarters Hurricane Harvey Relief Center and at three apartment complexes in one day, according to Dr. Muhammad. Over two days, they serviced 234 families at Mosque No. 45, and distributed aid to four apartment complexes and one housing subdivision.
Volunteers delivered water to Port Arthur, and the 10,000 Fearless Emergency Response Team and Austin Mosque No. 64 transported 80 evacuees from the deluged city to safety in Austin.
Donations small and large have been made online at NOIHouston.org, from ordinary people and some celebrities. The relief center has collected more than $14,000 to date, according to Dr. Muhammad.
The Fruit of Islam (F.O.I.), male members of the Nation of Islam, have been helping to clear out and repair homes, and delivering donations to neighborhoods and community centers.
The area of Southeast Houston, where Mosque No. 45 sits, was unscathed. The mosque and school were 90 percent functional, said Min. Haleem Muhammad. About a dozen homes were flooded out, but all Muslims in the mosque are accounted for, he said.
“All of our elders and pioneers in the mosque have reported in and they’re doing fine. Those who were displaced are safe and secure at this time,” Dr. Muhammad stated. He added, “Out of gratitude for Allah, the Most High, we are now serving our people. We’re up. We’re operational, and we’re functioning.”
Deric Muhammad, Houston-based activist and author, and Pastor E.A. Deckard of Green House International Church have been spearheading efforts at the Hurricane Harvey Relief Center at the church and Greens Point Educational & Revitalization Center.
Various Nation of Islam mosques and study groups have joined in to assist hurricane survivors. Photo: Adul Haleem Muhammad/Facebook
A time of great judgment?
During his Sept. 5 lecture from the Nation of Islam’s headquarters at Mosque Maryam, Student National Assistant Minister Ishmael Muhammad reiterated the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s warnings about God using weather and disasters—rain, hail, snow and earthquake—against America.
“God has to agitate the people, and whenever God sends a messenger or a prophet … he seizes the people with distress and affliction,” so they might humble themselves, Ishmael Muhammad said.
But the worst is yet to come, he continued, noting record 110 degree heat waves in Los Angeles, and fires that are breaking out across California. Allah (God) is burning up the West Coast and flooding the Midwest, he said.
Min. Farrakhan has continually warned President Trump that almighty God Allah would use natural disasters to cripple America, his latest coming a week before Harvey struck, Ishmael Muhammad noted.
“You don’t just have a man in front of you that speaks well. You just don’t have a man that’s a strong, bold, Black man and you like to hear what he’s got to say about White folks. The man that is in front of us is divine! The man that is in front of us is God’s servant to the Black man of America, a warner to America, and a warner to the nations of this earth,” Ishmael Muhammad said.
Toxic threats in Texas
Of the 4,500 drinking water systems potentially affected by Harvey, 1,514 are fully operational, 166 had boil-water notices, and 50 are shut down, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
And 13 of 41 and Texas’ Superfund sites (most intensely contaminated places) are now flooded, with the risk that waters were stirring dangerous sediment, according to the EPA.
At a chemical plant some 25 miles northeast of Houston, two trailers of highly unstable compounds blew up on Sept. 1.
“The people pay a price for that” in respiratory problems, predicted Hilton Kelley, founder of the Community In-Power and Development Association, Inc. in Port Arthur, Texas. The group works to empower low-income residents.
According to Mr. Kelley, one out of every five households in the city has a child or someone that must use a nebulizer just to breathe.
He and several friends jumped into action and transported many stranded residents to the Carl Parker Center in his 15-passenger van. They saw people in want, except for water, and found officials really had no plan for them, as some people were sleeping on bleachers, he said.
It is time to create a better system, instead of fumbling the ball in helping victims to get safe shelter, food and water, promising people money, and just kicking the can down the road to the next administration, Mr. Kelly argued.