Latest Updates

Monday, November 9, 2009

Anwar Meets Gaza Families

Senior U.S. staff member Anwar Khan is in Gaza visiting Islamic Relief projects and beneficiaries. This past weekend, he met orphans Islamic Relief donors are sponsoring, and visited schools and hospitals Islamic Relief is supporting. He recounted and reflected on the experience in his latest diary entries, from which you will find some excerpts below.

November 6 - Today, we visited some of the most devastated areas from the war earlier this year. These areas are mostly in the north and east of Gaza. We visited olive orchards that were uprooted and cement factories that were destroyed. One of the olive orchards has been re planted, but it will take many years for them to grow back. The cement factory cannot be renovated until construction materials are allowed into Gaza and even then it cannot operate without raw materials.

There were children going inside destroyed buildings to scavenge for anything useful. We visited destroyed schools and damaged playgrounds.

We prayed Jum'aa (Friday prayers) in one of the largest mosques in northern Gaza. It was paid for by a ruler from the Gulf. It looked beautiful from afar, but when I entered the mosques I saw broken windows and broken fixtures. The locals are finding it difficult to find the raw materials to maintain this building.

We visited more orphans today, Suzanne, Iman and Amina. Suzanne is a gifted girl who lives in a refugee camp, but got a scholarship to go to a private school. Her favorite subject is English and she wants to be a teacher when she gets older.

When I asked her what her dreams were she replied "For peace to Gaza. For the ability to travel locally and internationally without problems." This from an eleven-year-old orphan.

Iman and Amina are seven-year-old twins. Their father died one year and three days after their birth. A few months later their younger brother was born. Their mother is remarried and they have to live with their maternal grandparents in a refugee camp. What shocked me the most was young Iman's favorite subject: human rights.

November 7 - We revisited Al Shifa and Nasser pediatric hospital. Al Shifa is overcrowded and desperately needs a new building. The new building is half done, the construction ceased three years ago when the sanctions were tightened.

We visited three-year-old Fayek who is in the Intensive Care Unit after he fell nearly forty feet. We were told he is stable, but not out of harms way. His spleen, lungs, liver and brain are partially damaged.

Nasser pediatric hospital is another old building, but the emergency unit has been renovated by Islamic Relief Palestine.

We also did some more food distribution today. One beneficiary, an elderly disabled man, was too weak to take the food package home. I helped him place the package on the back of his bicycle and he used the bicycle as a trolley to take the parcel home.

After nightfall, I visited the main shopping area which is on Omar Mukhtar Street. Most of the items were from China. The fake shirts were cheap quality, but the same price as the originals in the US. Before the siege there were very limited items to buy, now the shops are full with cheap quality items that were smuggled through the underground tunnels.
To read the rest of Anwar's Gaza entries please visit the Islamic Relief USA blog.


  1. May Allah Help the people of Gaza and give them Saber in the time of hardship. May Allah reward Islamic Relief for their efforts to help Muslims and Non-Muslims around the world. Amin.

  2. Great efforts by the Islamic Relief Organization for exposing the truth about Gaza and the difficulties being expressed by its citizens. May Allah make their tasks easy - Ameen.

  3. Kamel from Colorado Springs, CO USANovember 21, 2009 at 5:10 PM

    Alhamdu lellah for the bounty of Islam, our only reward comes from Allah subanahu wa taala. May Allah reward you all for your efforts and May Allah make the relief comes soon for our brothers and sisters in Palestine and especially in Gaza.

  4. May ALLAH comfort these people in these times of extreme hardship and may He reward those who help them. Pray for compassion(to be put in your heart) for those that ALLAH cherishes so dearly. He has given to those who will expend it in His cause. Do this now especially in these first ten days of Zilhajj so that ALLAH may bestow the Bounties upon you that He would like to. If only we are willing. The Prophet, (S.A.W.), testified that "There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to ALLAH than these ten days." (Bukhaari).