Muslim youths take water to Flint

Local group will continue to collect bottled water

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published January 19, 2016

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Members of the local chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association have organized a bottled water drive aimed at assisting Flint residents.

“We are all aware of the unfortunate Flint water crisis happening right now,” association Secretary Mahir Osman said Jan. 11 at the Rochester Hills City Council meeting. Dangerously high levels of lead have recently been found in Flint’s drinking water.

“Our youth association just this past weekend collected a number of bottles and jugs of water and donated them directly to Flint,” Osman said. “When we got there, we thought there would be a lot of donations at sites and there would be a lot of rallying around to help the city of Flint.”

That was not the case. “It was actually very discouraging,” Osman said. The association will collect bottles of water between 7 and 10 p.m. every day at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center, located at 1730 Auburn Road. “Anybody can donate bottles of water, and we will travel to Flint and drop them off,” he said.

Osman asked Rochester Hills City Council members to find ways to help them contribute to the effort. “We wish for guidance to see how we can do something as a community,” he said. “We will be in discussions with Neighborhood House and Gleaners to see if we can partner with them.

“As Flint is only 45 minutes aways they actually are an extension of us — they are our brothers and sisters.”

President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration Jan. 16 and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions in the area affected by contaminated water, according to a White House statement.

The declaration authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Genesee County, providing water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits and other necessary related items.

Rochester Hills City Council members applauded Osman for his group’s efforts. “Thank you for what you do, and you can count on me to drop off some water,” Councilman Dale Hetrick said.

“Not only are you an organization doing well in representing your community and mosque, but you are doing well representing our city,” Mayor Bryan Barnett said. “It is nice to see one of our community groups reaching out to a neighbor in the city of Flint and helping them out.”

For more information about the water collection effort, or to donate water in bulk or make a donation, call (248) 884-7880.