Islamic students hold vigils, fundraisers to aid victims of Gaza conflict

By By Jonathan Raymond, News Staff

As this month’s conflict in the Gaza Strip sparked scores of rallies and protests nationwide, students in the Islamic Society of Northeastern University have aimed to raise awareness of the strife and loss of life among Palestinian civilians in the war-torn region.
Omar Duwaji, vice president of the Islamic Society and a middler accounting major, said the group held fundraisers and prayer vigils for those affected by the violence, which recently stalled with a cease-fire. The group is planning on holding more events to promote further awareness.
‘Whenever innocent people die, people are always affected by that,’ he said. ‘You see it on TV, I know people want to do something about it, and maybe the message hasn’t been reaching everybody, so we’re trying to do something about it and get that out there.’
Duwaji said the group holds prayer congregations in the Curry Student Center every Friday, and has been collecting money to send to afflicted civilians in Gaza. He said the group has already sent $600 to the group Islamic Relief and attended a fundraising event last Saturday at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury.
‘[The charity] has people on the ground over there trying to help people rebuild and reconstruct their lives,’ he said. ‘A lot of the Muslims in and around Boston have been trying to help.’
Elizabeth Nettleton, a student in the law school and member of the Islamic Society, said the relief effort’s only concern was humanitarian.
‘They’re completely apolitical. The only concern is the humanitarian crisis,’ she said. ‘People were without water for the entire five weeks. We just want them to get water, medical aid, basic necessities.’
Duwaji said some of the events the group might organize in coming weeks to raise more awareness could include a speaking event with philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky and a lawyer who was in Gaza during the conflict; he could share his eyewitness account.
Both Duwaji and Nettleton agreed one of the recent focuses of the group has been to create a more complete awareness of the situation in Gaza, which they said could be slanted at times.
‘We want to reach out to as many people as possible so people are aware,’ Duwaji said. ‘You have to look at the situation, putting aside Hamas. Half the people that died are women and children. It’s just a terrible, terrible situation.’

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