Reasons why the Detriot help was adjudged to be the best project

M.Akhtar,Ph.D., President of Muslim Council of America (MCA)

The city of Detroit went through bankruptcy and faced many crises including the The city of Detroit went shutting-off of the city’s water supply — a move the United Nations deemed deplored and a human rights violation. Beginning last spring, with the city shutting off water supply to residents with overdue balances, the Islamic Relief USA and Michigan Muslim Community Council (MMCC) donated $100,000-sharing equally, to the Detroit Water Fund. This organized help of Muslims was adjudged to be of exceptional merit, yet atypical it was

Typically, migrant Muslims spend their charitable money in activities such as feeding individuals of the same ethnicity and religion, building mosques, and participating in related activities helping their home countries and neighborhoods. While commendable, the reality is that their “new”neighborhood has people of diverse cultures, belief systems, and ways of living. It is in this setting that the Muslim work of charity has to be evaluated. In this framework the meaning of what Muslims did in Detroit emerges as of overwhelming significance, the quantum of which is hard to fathom. Out of a dozen Muslim projects implemented in 2014, the Muslim charitable help in Detroit was judged the best hands-down project; it was “out of the Muslim world” An analysis is attempted in the following that gives an inkling into why the project was judged the best. Factors given priority in our valuation were spelled out along with a quantitative weight assigned to each factor are given below

(15 points) A. Organization and collection

Muslims worked extensively and collectively . This meant involving hundreds and thousands of people in reciprocal interactions. That boosted the morale of all concerned and at all levels.

(15 points) B. Delivery of the benefit

The collected donations were given to the Administration of Detriot that was like rescuing the captain of the sinking ship, one who had the focal responsibility to steer the ship clear out of the troubled waters where the ship was stuck for the missing key . Once the key were to be delivered to him, the captain could start the engine of the ship to fire up with all of its cylinders and move out quickly and safely before any damage was done to the ship or to any of the people who were on board. This whole operation looks too simple to deserve any special award. The merit of the award, lies in sizing up the whole situation first, with dire consequences if not acted swiftly. It also entailed a recognition that the entire system was already preset complete with all of its parts in place, except the key that was lost. Identifying it with its, correct design and then getting the right key manufactured in a timely manner was the biggest challenge to the whole project. Then its timely execution was crucial. That made the project so special. Delivery was quick, efficient- with little waste of the time, effort or money, and above all, most effective. Delivery of the funds was the key.As soon It was delivered, it immediately restored the water supply and corrected the life threatening specter of the situation, thus raised the low morale of the city and converted it from a state of despondency to exuberance

(20 points) C. Team Work with the muscle power of organizations involved The work combined the talents and resources of the two powerful Muslim organizations. Together they were able to pull it through and meet the target. They decided realistically what was absolutely needed –$ 100,000 to make the difference and were able to successfully meet the target amount. Had they fallen short of it even by $ 1000 to the effect that it was un acceptable to the Administration- or to any one of the two Muslim organizations. Or had the Funds collection was delayed by 6 months when there was strategically a vital dateline, the whole project would have been marked as a failure. In essence, the high value of the project is directly derived from the powerful strength ofthe two organizations.

(20 points) D. American orientation and emphasis of Pluralism.

A predominant majority of Muslims projects are directed to help their fellow Muslims.(Nothing wrong with helping Muslims specially if they are needy)) What is missing here is the fact that we are living in America where Public help is given and received primarily based on the Human need, irrespective of one’s religion, gender, ethnic background etc.. Compliance with it is obligatory. Religiously speaking as well, islam is a great religio, Muslims Receive benefits equal to other groups, simply because we are Americans it is only fair for us to maintain the same basis and Give to others when they are needy Americans.The Detriot project is the perfect example of the sharpest emphasis on pluralism. It outshines in our evaluation of all the projects that were under consideration also because of the last criterion that that is given below and was given the highest weight.

(30 points) E. 1) To Change the Terroristic Image of Muslims and 2)To associate Muslims with the emphasis on life saving .

Reversal of terroristic image is direly needed for the survival of Muslims. Right now they are at the lowest level in the estimation of America. It is ironic that even for America itself it is better to have that image changed too because it is spending exorbitant amount of dollars in billions and trillions to control the situation, plus the human cost by way of suffering because of continual anxiety ( please see the related article “ Obama: our Muslim population” —in this very issue).. The value of a Muslim project is the highest if somehow it can change the mind set of America Directly and reverse the terroristic image immediately by hypnosis , brilliant speeches delivered by national leaders or something .Unfortunately these devices are known to have only little or temporary effect. For an enduring impact that can come only over time, Muslims have to be seen in actuality as life saving instead of life threatening, and this has to be repeated several times. An example is presented If a Muslim stands up to risk his life and saves life of 7 jews, ( reported in the next issue of the website under the site “Interesting”) or life of any non Muslim who was under attack by a terrorist. These example do occur but as isolated cases only . To conceive of a group project of Muslims which can be repeated countrywide by Muslim organizations, the best one to think of, is Free Medical Clinic which is undertaken now a days in numerous places of America. Not all of them, however, are oriented to serve America patients nor do they have all Muslims as physicians which is distinctly a requirement needed to sharpen the image of Muslim as life saver. Mixing Muslims with non Muslims specially as physicians leaves the image as diffused , This model of serving is clearly present in few clinics of MCA. One good example of this is the Free Clinic at Pittsburgh.( See its website. For other kind of group project, the best situation is presented in the cutoff of water supply in Detroiters- leaving thousands of people without water. The threat of death may not be imminent if the water was still available in the vicinity-Thus the life saving quality ( #5) may be a bit lower here . Yet this Detroit project should get priority to the Free Clinic as based on factors #B,C . However, an overall valuation of the project makes it the best. The inspiration of the project seems to be coming from the same motivation as is emphasized in our valuation is reflected in the official statement given to the media by Dr. Muzammil Ahmed, President of MMCC, “There is a lot of frustration and pessimism among Muslims, and people of faith in general, due to the horrible things that have been done in the name of God and religion over the past year. But there are far more wonderful things that can be done and that are being done, inspired by our faith and our love for our fellow neighbors”.

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