Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

American Muslims spend weekend cleaning national monuments and parks

Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association volunteers cleared garbage on the Mall in Washington among other locations

Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association clean up the National Mall in Washington DC
Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association clean up the National Mall in Washington DC

Teams of young American Muslims spent the weekend picking up rubbish at monuments and parks across the country as cleaning services had been disrupted by the government shutdown.

Volunteers from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) cleared garbage outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, as well as in the Everglades National Park in Florida, at Joshua Tree in California and in the Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio

“Service to our nation and cleanliness are important parts of Islam,” Dr Madeel Abdullah, president of the youth group, said. “We could not sit idly by as our national parks collected trash. We will lead by example and dispose of this garbage appropriately and invite all Americans to join us in these parks and others across the nation.”

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The AMYA had announced their plans on Thursday last week, saying on Twitter that: “The govt shutdown means that our beautiful national parks are overflowing with trash. This weekend, our #MuslimYouth will clean our #NationalParks at #JoshuaTree and #Cuyahoga. Join us! #WhatMuslimsDo”:

Members took up the call to service, turning out in locations such as in the nation’s capital, Washington DC, where the group said “our youth teamed up with the local residents to clean the @NationalMallNPS, @uscapitol grounds and George Mason Memorial amongst the government #shutdown. #WhatMuslimsDo”:

“Serving the communities we live in isn’t just a civic responsibility,” AMYA spokesman Salaam Bhatti told KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia. “It is actually a part of our faith.”

Claudia Vargas of the Philly Inquirer noted that “more than a dozen young men with @MuslimYouthUSA⁩ are cleaning up Independence Mall today in pouring rain. They say they are doing their part in helping amid government shutdown”:

The group’s activities received widespread praise from fellow Americans, with Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney tweeting: “Shout out to Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Assoc for a great job cleaning up Independence Mall during Trump gov’t shutdown. Trump can shut down the gov’t, but not Americans’ sense of civic duty”:

The organisation has previously engaged in similar community outreach measures. In October 2017 they appealed for members to donate blood in the aftermath of the Las Vegas Strip shooting which claimed the lives of 59 people

Updated: January 8, 2019 09:24 AM

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