The city of Flint, Michigan, is grappling with a shocking water crisis. Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s administration tried to save money by selling polluted Flint river water to the residents of Flint instead of using Detroit’s water sources, and ended up poisoning a hundred thousand people with lead. Now that he’s been exposed, the governor is suddenly extremely concerned about the situation that he was aware of but allowed to fester, only declaring a state of emergency and begging for help from the federal government after the whistles were blown.
Americans all over the country are joining together to send clean water to Flint in an inspiring show of compassion and unity. The Muslim community of the neighboring city of Dearborn has collected over 30,000 bottles of water for the Red Cross through an organization called “Who is Hussain?” Organizer Dr. Aziza Asakari said that “we saw what needed to be done and we decided to do it. We reached out to schools, neighbors, friends, mosques, anyone and everyone to help us by donating a case of water, or money towards a case.”
Resident Mohammed Almawla shared his sentiments: “Prophet Mohammed (عليه السلام) taught us ‘Your neighbor comes before your own household.’ As a resident of Detroit this is not only a Flint problem this is a Michigan problem and I feel obligated to help to the best of my ability.”
The London-based group’s curious name refers to the story of Imam Hussain ibn Ali, a grandson of the Prophet who died of starvation and thirst in the desert after refusing to give his allegiance to a cruel tyrant who was depriving his citizens of their rights and freedoms. The group has made water distribution a key part of their mission to honor his memory, demonstrating a side of Muslim values that the media never shows.
It is very inspiring to see American Muslims coming together to fix a horrific crisis caused by Snyder – a man who closed his state border to Syrian refugees after the Paris attacks. These people are showing him the how one truly embodies the values of charity and communal support that he should have shown for the women and children fleeing unimaginable terror – showing the people of Flint the compassion and care that the criminal Snyder should have shown for the people he ostensibly represents.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.