Story at a glance
- The Islamic holiday Ramadan begins on April 23 and lasts through May 23.
- Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is a shortage of blood to treat patients.
- Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are using mosques to host blood donation drives.
Muslims have celebrated Ramadan by gathering at mosques for thousands of years, through both peace and war time, as well as during pandemics.
During the coronavirus pandemic, large gatherings at mosques have been banned, although the buildings remain open for essential services. Now, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is partnering with the Red Cross to turn the mosques under their 62 U.S. chapters into blood donation centers.
“This year, we will host a first of its kind virtual Centennial Iftar on May 9. All mosques will be virtually open for interfaith communities and guest speakers so we can reflect on the power of prayer during this pandemic,” said Amjad Mahmood Khan, National Director of Public Affairs for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, in a release. “At the same time, our mosques are engines to serve America during these trying times.”
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The community, which has millions of members in 213 countries, was established in 1920 and has its own youth auxiliary and relief organization. In 2010, it launched its “Muslims for Peace” campaign in the United States and the United Kingdom to combat the negative perception of Islam after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
In a release, the group said they are answering the call of U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams who has asked Americans to donate blood as supplies dwindle amid the COVID-19 outbreak. With stay-at-home orders in place across the country, regular donation drives have been cancelled and people are less likely to go out to deliver blood. At the same time, hospitals are in more need of blood supply to treat COVID-19 patients showing a range of symptoms.
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