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Katrina Restoration Project

NAIT-Islamic Relief USA Joint Project

 

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 and communities.

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Historical Milestones:

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 damage.

 

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 centers.





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