By Craig Considine – Imagine the streets of your city completely flooded with waves of up to eight to nine feet. Picture winds of 150 to 200 miles per hour gushing through homes, tearing down buildings, and ripping the roots of trees up through the concrete of sidewalks. These are the stories of Hurricane Katrina – the infamous tropical storm that left 200,000 New Orleanians homeless and without food, water or medication.
The stories of ‘the Big Easy’ were tough to swallow as an American. On one hand, I felt frustrated that Capitol Hill and the White House were so delayed in responding to the needs of American citizens. Abdul Rahman, a Muslim general contractor, told us that thousands and thousands of African Americans were forced into the Superdome where practically none of the necessities they needed to survive were offered. Women were raped, people starved to death, and people were even killed. These stories made my heart ache.
There were, however, stories of great courage and love that uplifted me tremendously. Amongst all the debauchery and suffering on the streets and in the Superdome were individuals like Abdul Rahman, who saved an elderly women in her flooded home, and Adib Saafir, who opened up Masjid Al Islam to non-Muslims that fled the treachery of the Superdome. What could be more patriotic than these acts of heroism?
In a country still working towards understanding Islam and Muslims, Americans can look to Abdul Rahman and Adib Saafir as quintessential examples of the compassion, the warmth, and the patriotism that many Muslims within this nation have entrenched within them. What surprises me most about their stories was the ability for everyday American citizens like Abdul Rahman and Adib Saafir to help their fellow citizens even when Washington neglects. Their stories need to be heard. That’s why we are bringing these stories to you.