Staten Island Mosque Among Those Sending Direct Aid

October 13, 2005

Source: The New York Times

On October 13, 2005 The New York Times reported, "A pair of trucks rumbled along the broken roads of Kashmir on Tuesday, carrying yet another load of food, clothes and makeshift tents into the earthquake zone. But unlike so many of the anonymous donors thousands of miles away, the source of this aid, a mosque, was boldly advertised on the trucks' red-lettered banners: 'Masjid Al-Noor, Staten Island, New York'...

Mr. [Suhail] Muzaffar's [chairman of the mosque's board of trustees] point was not pride but control. He wrote up a shopping list based on cellphone calls from victims trapped in the mountains to relatives who worship at his mosque. He rented the trucks and ordered the banners himself, through connections in his family's Pakistani hometown, Rawalpindi. And he enlisted a Pakistani charity he knew to carry the order through.

Only in this way, he said, could he and other members of his mosque feel sure that their $12,000 in hard-earned donations would reach the people they were trying to help.

Relief experts say the mosque's control of its beneficence illustrates a new trend in global charity: many donors are no longer content to write checks and hope for the best. Fears of inept government bureaucracies, official corruption, and charities that engage in fraud have led to an increasingly hands-on approach by donors, from the lone cabdriver to the boards of many foundations."