Muslim Group Serves Curry to Japanese Earthquake Survivors

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    Here’s a great story about members of an Islamic center in Aichi prefecture who delivered aid to survivors of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.

    The group of 17 volunteers drove up to Iwate in two 4-ton trucks, bringing 500 kilograms of rice, 300 kilograms of meet, and a large amount of vegetables and spices. When they arrived at a shelter for evacuees, they prepared and served nearly 3,000 plates of curry:

    “Aren’t you cold? Are you feeling well?” the curry “chefs” said to the evacuees while serving the meals.

    For the evacuees spending days in the freezing cold amid a food shortage, the hot meals with plenty of meat were heartwarming.

    The members, who also stayed overnight at the community center along with the evacuees, made a total of 1,800 meals. The following day they served 900 dishes at a nearby high school.

    “My heart aches to see the situation surrounding the quake victims,” said Ahmad Mushtaq, 40, from Pakistan.

    “It’s natural to help anybody in need regardless of their ethnicity or religion. I want them to eat delicious food and get warm physically and also in their hearts.”

    Here’s some additional information, from an article that appeared on AllVoices:

    A group of Pakistanis as far as from Kasugai-shi, near Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, drove to Oozuchi cho, Iwate Pref. , one of the most devastated town, with cooking utensils and cooking ingredients on the car(s). From 20th, they are serving for the town people with their warm hearted curry and naan bread for 2,000 evacuees. A 9-old-boy from the town is now helping with those guys, who are all community members gathering at a mosque in Kasugai city, Aichi. Muhammad Shafkatmunier (spelling?) 33, says, ‘when we are in a time of trouble, we help each other. That’s the spirit of Islam.’

    For breakfast, they are serving hot and sweet milk tea. Evacuees are especially happy for the FIRST hot drinks at the camp. A lady, who lost her son, happened to pass by the temporal kitchen, holding her grandson’s hand. When sipping the milk tea from a Pakistani, she said ‘Oishii, Oishii (good good)’ and bowed deeply, with a small smile on her cheek.

    Although that second quote refers to them as Pakistanis, it was actually a multi-national group that included people from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burma, and Sri Lanka.

    These volunteers received a lot of positive attention from the Japanese media – most notably in a TV news program that aired yesterday on the TBS channel. I wasn’t able to get a recording of the program, but I have found reports about their aid work in the Asahi Shimbun, Chunichi Shimbun, and Gifu Shimbun. (If anyone finds a video about it, please let me know!)

    Update: News47.jp has a video report about this or a similar aid project. [hat tip to Julián Ortega Martínez]

    Update 2: Den4 has found TV reports from FTV and TBS:



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