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Omaha mosque kicks off drive to support displaced earthquake victims

Posted at 6:49 PM, Feb 10, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Across the globe from the rubble and tragedy in Turkey and Syria, support is coming from the American Muslim Institute in Omaha.

The mosque, on the campus of the Tri-Faith Initiative, which also hosts a synagogue and Christian church, kicked off a donation drive on Friday afternoon.

The first boxes dropped off included things like coats, clothes and tampons. They're also looking for health supplies and devices, tents and sleeping bags, and other winter supplies like heaters, said Abdullah Najjar, administrator of AMI.

"Amid all the pain and destruction, the reality is there's an opportunity in this," Najjar said. "We always preach about service and helping other people, and that humanity needs to get together ... and this an opportunity to put our action where our words are."

Najjar leads the weekly Friday prayer. Friday's focus was on the victims in Turkey and Syria, he said.

Among Omahans tied to the tragedy is UNO Islamic Studies professor Ramazan Kilinç. He is from Turkey and his wife has family who lived near the epicenter. They are safe but are among millions displaced by the disaster, waiting and hoping for their homes to be deemed safe. Much of Turkey resides in high-rising apartment buildings, he said.

They were lucky, he said, to hear from the family within a few hours of the first earthquake before communication became impossible.

Kilinç and UNO students created their own fundraising money for recovery efforts.

A flyer for AMI's drive is below. Tri-Faith will help with AMI's effort.

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