Islamic Centers Part of "Dynamic Interfaith Effort" to Assist Evacuees in Baton Rouge

October 8, 2005

Source: Advocate

On October 8, 2005 the Advocate reported, "[Soon after Hurricane Katrina hit, Rita Jenkins, a New Orleans resident] and 17 members of her family piled into three cars and headed for higher ground... they took the wrong exit off the interstate and ended up in Baton Rouge at the Islamic Complex on East Washington Street. There they sought directions, but found refuge instead. Like their Christian and Jewish counterparts throughout Baton Rouge and the surrounding area, the Islamic Complex and the nearby Islamic Center of Baton Rouge mobilized to help those forced to flee the New Orleans area. Soon the effort drew outside support, becoming an example of interfaith cooperation. Jenkins and her family were among nearly 100 New Orleans evacuees the Islamic Complex took in after Hurricane Katrina. According to Mahmoud Jehad, an imam at the Islamic Center of Baton Rouge... the first night after the hurricane struck, 150 evacuees crowded into the center seeking shelter. Within a few days, that number had risen to more than 500, he said... Imam Fahmee Sabree, of the Islamic Complex... said the vast majority of people who sought refuge at the complex were Christian. Several Christian churches and other nonreligious volunteer organizations have assisted the Islamic relief effort... Sabree called it a 'dynamic interfaith effort.'"