CAIRO – Giving back to their community, Florida Muslims held the 18th annual Islamic Charity Festival to help hundreds of needy children in Tampa city.
Addressing the crowd, Talib Ali, a member of the Tampa Bay Muslim Alliance stated, “When we give to charity in the name of Allah, we verify that which we say we’re about,” the Tamba Tribune reported on Sunday, April 26.
“It’s a way to verify the intentions in our heart. Although we manifest different acts of worship, true righteousness is a belief in Allah and a reality greater than (what) we see,” he added.
Organized by Tampa Bay Muslim Alliance, the event included distributing clothes, dozens of toys and food meals to Tampa area needy children.
Around 90 bicycles were given away to needy children who were pre-identified by the Muslim Alliance.
Drawing a crowd of more than 2,000 people, the six-hour event included speeches by local Muslim imams who aimed to raise attendants’ awareness about Islam.
Face-painting, cartoon balloons for children and inflatables were offered during the event.
The event also included bazaars for men’s and women’s clothing.
Although there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to between 6-8 million Muslims.
A Pew Research Center study, Public Remains Conflicted Over Islam, has revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
The Muslim-sponsored event was praised by Tampa residents and officials who joined the crowd to celebrate the festival.
“Regardless of faith, or the color of your skin, we would not be here without your dedication to the community,” Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner said.
Meanwhile, he congratulated the Tampa Bay Muslim Association for sponsoring activities that promote a “just, peaceful and harmonious” community.
Speaking at the festival, Ali said that people will be “honored” for “everything we do in our lives.”
“We will be held accountable for the things we do,” he cited a text from the Holy Qur’an.
On his part, Malik Abdullah, a Tampa resident and longtime volunteer at the festival, addressed negative stereotypes of Muslims and Islam in the US.
Islam, he said, is about “love for people, obedience to Allah and service to the community.”
“We do good, speak the truth and obey our God,” Abdullah said. “We’re a peaceful religion.”
“There is a misconception that we believe in more than one God, but it is one God who created all of us to honor one another,” he said.
“We are not terrorists. The Quran does not advocate terrorism, greed and hate. It says you are created to know one another. The goal is obedience of God.”
And an Economist/YouGov poll found that a 73 percent of Americans believe that US Muslims are victims of discrimination amid recent attacks against the community.