HOUSTON, TEXAS â€”Â
Floodwaters are slowly receding in Houston, still many freeways & neighborhoods near dams & reservoirs are nonetheless under water, which means hundreds of flood victims are nonetheless in need of shelter.
Several mosques have opened their doors to flood victims, offering shelter & donations.
For 19-year-old Sara Al Azaat, who’s from Saudi Arabia, passing the time at the shelter has not been straightforward. She has solely been in Houston for 4 months.
â€œWeâ€™ve by no means had any experience before … with any kind of storm (like that) from where I came from,â€� Al Azaat stated. â€œWe didnâ€™t take it in that significantly.â€�
She stated the flooding has-been â€œa life-changing experienceâ€� for her.
â€‹Forced to evacuate
Al Azaat & her family have been forced to evacuate their neighborhood in west Houston. The- mosque they’re sheltering in is a component of the Islamic Society of Larger Houston.
Al Azaatâ€™s mother is initially from Indonesia & her dad is from Syria. Al Azaatâ€™s cousins, who live within the same apartment complicated as her family, are moreover at the mosque.
While the younger kids play with toys which were donated to the mosque, the adults allege they’re anxious to return to their homes. However nobody knows when the mandatory evacuation order can be lifted for his or her neighborhood.
There are solely a few families at this shelter, mainly 'cause some volunteers at the mosque have taken flood victims in to their very own homes.
â€œWe have been really amazed,â€� IIyas Choudry, who’s initially from Pakistan, stated of the volunteers who took people in to their very own homes. â€œWe have been really touched by that. Thereâ€™s plenty of feeling of brotherhood, sisterhood among the many community. I by no means knew in that this stuff can occur. A calamity [can] bring the whole entire community collectively.â€�
People from this community on the west side of Houston, where there was no flood injury, have been coming to this shelter to donate items, resembling sheets & blankets, & even toys. For some people, it’s the 1st time they’ve gone inside a mosque.
â€œI have by no means been inside a mosque. I used to be a bit apprehensive about which door to go into. & a young lady met me within the parking zone & led me,â€� stated Gina Mandell, a volunteer who stopped by to see if the mosque was nonetheless accepting donations.
â€˜Purely on basis of humanityâ€™
Choudry stated, â€œPeople of all faiths, they’ve come collectively.
â€œTheyâ€™re working purely on the idea of humanity. Nothing else. Just human beings helping one another. So this is really heartwarming,â€� he stated, including, â€œand then we learn from totally different people 'cause everybody has totally different backgrounds, totally different thought processes & weâ€™ve discovered lots by means of this.â€�
Mandellâ€™s visit to the mosque-turned-shelter additionally helped her dispel sure assumptions.
â€œTheyâ€™re so much warmer than I expected on the males. The- females Iâ€™ve all the time expected kindness & warmness, still typically I are likely to shy away from Muslim men 'cause I donâ€™t know the traditions & what I ought to do correctly,â€� she stated.
Choudry stated he additionally saw it as a learning experience.
â€œThey are human. Theyâ€™re our buddies they usually want to assist the humanity with out any discrimination with out any worry, nothing. They only want to assist people,â€� he stated.
Totally different perspective
Al Azaat stated her experience at the mosque shelter was nothing just like the anti-Muslim rhetoric she has seen on the news source.
Non-Muslims are â€œcoming & donating. It made me have a special perspective concerning the U.S.,â€� she stated.
Al Azaat & her cousin stated they’re grateful & appreciate the assistance of strangers.
Fourteen-year-old Joud Al Azaat stated, â€œIâ€™m greater than thankful for them,â€� of the non-Muslims who came to the mosque to donate.
The volunteers stated breaking down barriers & working collectively will make the community stronger as they rebuild the city after the flood.