By Mandy Froelich / Truth Theory
Under the leadership of US President Donald Trump, the government could remain shut down for months, if not “years.” And, American citizens aren’t the only ones affected; nature is also suffering as a result of the shutdown. Now, members of a Muslim youth group spent their past weekend collecting trash at several national parks around the country.
MNN reports that volunteers with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) saw trash cans overflowing and litter on the streets in Everglades National Park in Florida, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and Joshua Tree National Park in California, so they decided to do something about the pollution. The Inquirer reports that more than one dozen young men worked in the pouring rain to clean up Independence Mall in Philadelphia, as well.
Approximately 70 volunteers — both Muslims and non-Muslims — took part in the weekend cleanup. Group spokesperson Salaam Bhatti told MNN:
”Service to our nation and cleanliness are important parts of Islam,” said Dr. Madeel Abdullah, president of the 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.”
“We just came out here because we thought it’s our responsibility as a Muslim community to help the neighborhood and help the community,” said Zubair Abaidullah, 17. The teenager scooped up more trash, including cigarette butts and plastic bags, than he could recall.
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The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) has 70 chapters across the country with more than 5,000 members. Participants’ ages range from 7 to 40.
“We are tentatively planning for more park cleanups,” said Bhatti. “We have also heard that the government shutdown is going to affect a lot of other things, for example SNAP benefits being cut in February. So we are looking into food support. On Martin Luther King Day, our chapter in Manassas, Virginia, is working with a few other groups to pack 25,000 meals for the hungry.”
Says Bhatti, “We’re doing this because service to our fellow people is part of our faith.”
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IMAGE CREDIT: AMYA Cleveland