American Muslims donate 30,000 bottles of water to help ease Michigan federal state of emergency

The city of Flint is currently in the middle of a water contamination crisis

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The Independent US

A group of American Muslims have made a stand against rising anti-Islamic sentiment in the country by donating 30,000 bottles of water to a donation drive.

An organisation called Who is Hussain? made the pledge of Sunday to help citizens in the city of Flint, Michigan, which President Barack Obama declared as being in a federal state of emergency thanks to a water contamination crisis.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) stands accused of ignoring months of negative reports on the amount of lead in Flint’s drinking water.  The water is now considered so contaminated with man-made materials that the city has now had to switch its supply source to the corrosive and polluted Flint River.

Michigan National Guard Staff Sergeant Steve Kiger of Beaverton, Michigan, helps a Flint, Michigan resident take bottled water out to his car after he received it at a Flint Fire Station

At this point members of Who is Hussain? decided to do their bit to help alleviate the crisis, collecting donated bottles of water from the communities across the United States and raising funds to purchase more through an online charity appeal.

Speaking of the campaign, Dr Aziza Askari, head of the Michigan chapter of the Who is Hussain?, told the Washington Times: “We saw what needed to be done and we decided to do it. We reached out to schools, neighbours, friends, mosques, anyone and everyone to help us by donating a case of water, or money towards a case.”

Mohammed Almawla, who works as a filmmaker and volunteer for the organization, added: “Prophet Mohammed taught us ‘Your neighbour 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.”

Who is Hussain? was founded in 2012 as tribute to the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussain ibn Ali, who was murdered after being denied water for several days. The organisation, which now has 60 representatives around the world, argues that the denial of water to anybody at any time is immoral and as such promotes water distribution around the world. 

On Saturday Obama declared a state of emergency in Flint, which automatically freed up to $5 million in federal aid to assist with the public health crisis. He refused calls to make a disaster declaration, however, even though doing so would have provided a larger war chest.

The Detroit Free Press explained that Obama’s hands were tied in the situation, as a disaster declaration can only be issued on natural occurrences, such as hurricanes or floods, whereas the crisis engulfing Flint is man-made.