CAIRO - Extending their hands to fellow Americans in Florida, local Muslims from Tampa city held their annual charity festival on Sunday, April 15, giving back to their country and showing the real image of the teachings of their faith.
"We wanted to say 'thank you' to the community, Husain Nagamia, chairman and co-founder of the 15th Islamic Charity Festival, told The Tampa Tribune.
Marking its 15th year, the event was held on Sunday to attract as many as 3000 people at Riverfront Park off North Boulevard.
By noon, indigent and homeless people stood in long lines waiting their turns to get new shoes or second-hand clothes.
As the people gathered, Muslim volunteers worked hardly to distribute clothes, shoes and food for their needy neighbors.
Facing bright Florida sun, free bottles of water were being handed out to those waiting.
Not only food and clothes were offered.
The event also offered important medical care for people who couldn't afford blood-pressure tests and diabetes screening, Nagamia added.
Children also waited for a drawing in which 125 brand new bicycles were to be given away.
Sponsored by the Pakistani American Association of Tampa Bay, the local Islamic community donated everything in the event.
Though there are no official statistics, the US is believed to be home to 7-8 million Muslim.
Since the 9/11 attacks, US Muslims have complained of discrimination and stereotypes because of their Islamic attires or identities.
Despite the frenzy, they seized the opportunity to introduce a true message of Islam, through activism.
Extending new bridges into the community, new groups were established, such as American Muslim Voice, founded by Samina Sundas of Palo Alto.
There is also the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was founded to help Muslims engage with their neighbors in civic life.
A Muslim program, Day of Dignity, was also introduced nationwide seven years ago, aiming at serving homeless and vulnerable Americans, whether Muslim or not.
Every year, the nation-wide effort aims to serve more than 20,000 homeless and people in need in 15 cities throughout the United States.
People receive health screenings, free food, and a variety of goods depending on their particular city.