Date :Thursday, January 10th, 2019 | Time : 08:42 |ID: 83043 | Print

US: Muslim youths clean up national parks trashed during government shutdown

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SHAFAQNA- Young Muslims from across the US have spent their weekends clearing trash from national parks affected by the partial government shutdown.

In Philadelphia, more than a dozen volunteers gathered in the rain on Saturday to clear rubbish from Independence Mall while their comrades took to the nation’s capital just after sunrise Sunday.

As reported by CNN, cleanups were also carried out by the group at the Everglades National Park in Florida, Joshua Tree in California and the Cuyahoga Valley in Ohio.

Video posted online showed a group of men walking through the area with garbage bags, rakes and trash pickers, the hill reported.

All Muslim males age 7 to 40, to clean up parks around the country, the week told.

“We could not sit idly by as our national parks collected trash,” the statement read, per CNN. “We will lead by example and dispose of this garbage appropriately and invite all Americans to join us in these parks and others across the nation.”

A spokesperson for the group, Salaam Bhatti, told the news network that people from the general public joined its members during clean-ups after getting in contact via social media.

Bhatti said that the group has logged about 200,000 hours in community cleanups since 2016. She added that such efforts help increase dialogue between Muslims and people of other religious backgrounds.

Federal workers who usually take care of national parks have been furloughed amid the ongoing government shutdown. That means no one is getting paid to empty overflowing trash cans, manage sewage disposal, or maintain trails, potentially threatening the health of people who visit the closed parks anyway, per National Geographic.

“It’s just what we do,” 23-year-old Sarmad Bhatti told The WashingtonPost while emptying trash cans along Independence Avenue in the capital. “If there’s an opportunity to serve, that is what Muslims do.”

In a press release, the association’s president, Madeel Abdullah, said important parts of Islam included “service to our nation and cleanliness, huffingtonpost told.

Members of the group were joined by additional volunteers. At least 70 volunteers — both Muslims and non-Muslims — took part in the weekend cleanup, group spokesperson Salaam Bhatti, tells MNN.


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