Katrina Restoration Project
NAIT-Islamic Relief USA
At the end of August 2005, NAIT organized a project aimed at
restoration of Katrina-affected Islamic centers & schools in Louisiana and Mississippi.
NAIT aimed to work in concert with other Muslim institutions, relief
organizations and the private sector, to assist the affected Islamic centers
and schools in restoring their infrastructure. Islamic Relief USA joined NAIT
in providing financial assistance to the affected centers.
As of fall 2006, NAIT has conveyed formal approval of four
grants for a total of $175,000 for the repair of three masajid and one Islamic
school. None of these centers is part of NAIT family of centers. Part of these
grants has been disbursed.
The Katrina Restoration Project has not moved faster, since
its pace has been determined by the affected centers’ ability to find reputable
contractors. Additional funds are retained in the Islamic Centers Cooperative
Fund (ICCF) as a trust for this project only. NAIT expects the Muslim Students
Association (MSA) of the University
of New Orleans to take a
while before defining its need of a new masjid, either an appropriate land or a
building. The house being used by the MSA as masjid was totally destroyed.
Restoring Islamic centers and schools has been critical to
the emotional and spiritual well-being of the affected individuals, families
Since September 2005, NAIT personnel have made two trips to
the affected centers in October and December 2005. A report entitled
“Restoration of Katrina-affected Islamic Centers & Schools, Louisiana & Mississippi”
was an outcome of the 4-day October field visit, which was preceded and
followed by elaborate phone contacts with the effected communities’ leadership.
The report comprises data related to the centers’ location, ownership, damage,
etc in a tabulated form for ease of comprehension. Over 100 photos document the
Of the 26 centers evaluated, 16 centers had suffered damage
ranging from total destruction (only the foundation remaining) to negligible
damage. This damage is tentatively estimated at $1,116,000. The report
recommends an immediate assistance of $160,000 to fifteen centers/schools,
followed by additional assistance of $90, 000 to two centers on finalization of
their respective plans; a total of $250,000. The report enumerates requirements
to be fulfilled by the potential recipients prior to receiving funds.
NAIT met again with the leadership of the affected centers
and schools during the last week of December 2005 in New Orleans to answer their questions and
encouraged completion of necessary formalities for grants.
Islamic Relief USA joined NAIT in providing financial
assistance to the affected centers. After the completion of centers needs’ due
diligence by NAIT, NAIT issued letters to the complying centers conveying
approval of the specified grant amounts. To facilitate contractors’ engagement,
NAIT also issued “To Whom It May Concern” documents committing to their
contractors that the allocated funds will be paid directly to these contractors
once the restoration work is completed and is certified by the respective