Muslim Youth Groups Clean Up National Parks Amid Government Shutdown

A group of teen boys and young Muslim men in multiple cities are cleaning up the nation’s parks and memorials because Trump’s government shutdown over his border wall has debilitated the National Park Service.


“It’s just what we do,” 23-year-old Sarmad Bhatti told
The Washington Post, while emptying trash cans along Independence Avenue in the capital. “If there’s an opportunity to serve, that is what Muslims do.”

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, of the
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which has more than 5,000 members and 50 chapters nationwide, organized cleanups at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Everglades National Park in Florida, Joshua Tree National Park in California and Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio over the weekend.

“Service to our nation and cleanliness are important parts of Islam,”
said Dr. Madeel Abdullah, president of youth group, in a press release. “We could not sit idly by as our national parks collected trash. We will lead by example and dispose of this garbage appropriately and invite all Americans to join us in these parks and others across the nation.”

The AMYA are serving their country and demonstrating their mission to dispel negative stereotypes and misinformation about Muslims and Islam.

“We’re here to be part of America,” Bhatti said. “We are humbly serving our nation at a time when many tears are being shed.”

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported anti-Muslim bias incidents and hate crimes went up 83 and 21 percent respectively, in the second quarter of 2018 from the first. CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.

Outside the capital, volunteers wearing shirts that said #MeetAMuslim, served with the hope of changing those misperceptions.

“These parks belong to us, and they’re something we love,” said Raheel Tauyyab,18, one of the volunteers and a freshman at George Mason University. “We’re breaking stereotypes everywhere, about what people think about Muslims and what people think about young people.”

Faizan Tariq, a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University, whose Pakistani family arrived in America when he was three years old said, “This is our country, and we have to take care of it, even if politicians are unwilling to,” he said.

Fraz Tanvir, the Philly Muslim group’s leader,
said volunteering and helping in the community are part of their faith.

“Not only do we plant trees, but with His Holiness’ guidance we maintain the trees, clean up our highways and parks, and all of this has led to clean up our national parks,” Tanvir said.

“We just came out here because we thought it’s our responsibility as a Muslim community to help the neighborhood and help the community,” Zubair Abaidullah, 17, said as he cleaned up trash at Independence Mall in Philly.

Supporters have rallied around the group and encouraged people to accept this as proof of positive benefits to a diverse America:

Latest News

Syracuse University campus

News Roundup: TV Diversity, Syracuse Hire, and Segregated Training

Check out our news roundup of diversity and inclusion updates and insights from across the U.S.: Syracuse University Creates Athletics Diversity Position  While most colleges and universities around the county are making COVID-19-related cuts in regard to their athletic departments, Syracuse University has hired Salatha T. Willis as the associate athletic…

What Friends Tell Friends: Choose Kaiser Permanente

Originally published on about.kaiserpermanente.org. Integrated, nonprofit health plan tops NICE Satmetrix customer experience benchmark study for 10th straight year. For the 10th year in a row, more people would recommend Kaiser Permanente to a friend or colleague than any other health plan in the nation, according to the recently released…

Cesar Conde

NBCUniversal Sets Ambitious 50% Diversity Goal for Women, People of Color

Cesar Conde, chairman at NBCUniversal News Group, announced a groundbreaking goal to have a 50% diverse workforce at NBCUniversal, according to Deadline. Conde, the first Latino in this role, outlined his plans in an internal video for employees on Wednesday. The ultimate goal is for NBCUniversal, No. 7 on DiversityInc’s 2020…

Mastercard Expands ShopOpenings.com to the U.S. & Canada, Delivering a Search Tool That Identifies What Stores Near You Are Open for Business

Originally published on mastercardcontentexchange.com. Search solution complements new Digital Acceleration for Small Business global initiative which helps small businesses advance digitally and drive online commerce As businesses seek to draw customers back both in store and online, Mastercard is introducing new tools to support them. Today, Mastercard announced the geographic…

TIAA Launches Programs to Raise Awareness of Racial Injustice and Support Communities in Need through the “Be The Change” Initiative

On June 30, TIAA announced new virtual programs designed to raise awareness of racial injustice and support communities in need as a part of the company’s recently launched “Be the Change” initiative. One is TIAA’s “Race Against Racism,” an effort in support of The Innocence Project which included more than…

Stop TB Partnership and Johnson & Johnson, with support from USAID and The Global Fund, Announce Price Reduction for SIRTURO® (bedaquiline) for Treatment of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Originally published on jnj.com. Joint efforts aim to accelerate scale-up of WHO-recommended all-oral treatment regimens – a transition urgently needed to help protect the health of people with drug resistant-tuberculosis who are particularly vulnerable during COVID-19 pandemic In 2020, the initiative aims to reach at least 125,000 patients and could…

Toyota, Alabama A&M and Huntsville Hospital Collaborate to Make COVID-19 Testing Easier

Originally published on pressroom.toyota.com. $100,000 grant provides free service to the community Alabama A & M University (AAMU), Huntsville Hospital and Toyota are developing a mobile health clinic initiative to provide free COVID-19 testing to underserved communities in Madison County. Launching later this year, the mobile medical clinic program has…