Metro Muslims raise money for children’s charity in 5K

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Amna Kamal readily admits that running long distances isn’t her forte. But for the second consecutive year, the communications manager from Canton Township is preparing to step out in Fasting 5K.

The multicity effort, which started in 2013, aims to raise money for local and international charities during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. So on Saturday, while abstaining from eating and drinking during daylight hours as her religion requires, Kamal plans to walk and run just over 3 miles along the Interstate 275 Metro Trail — surviving on “sheer willpower” to benefit The Children’s Center in Detroit.

“There’s something spiritual when you’re doing something for a good cause that gets you through it,” she said. “You’re surrounded with people who have the same goals as you, the same giving mentality. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

The chance to help others is driving Kamal and about 60 others to join in the Metro Detroit version of the Fasting 5K, which takes off from the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton Township.

There will be similar events Saturday across North America, including in Chicago, New York and Toronto, according to the group’s website.

In Michigan, participants have each pledged to raise at least $250, said Jabeen Siddiqui Hamzavi, one of the organizers.

Kamal started spreading the word shortly after the deadly June 12 attack at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub.

She initially hesitated, fearing some wouldn’t want to still help Muslims in the wake of the tragedy, but opted to go ahead.

“I feel like the good things we do as a community — it’s important for people to see that and to see that that’s who we really are,” Kamal said. “Charitable things like this are part of the tenets of our faith. That is more who we are than anything else.”

Money raised for The Children’s Center will support its Crisis Care Center. A portion of the proceeds also goes to a Syrian American Medical Services initiative to aid refugees in Jordan, coordinators said.

The chance to help out has attracted non-Muslims to join the 5K, as well, Hamzavi said. “It’s a universal cause,” she said.


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More information

To find out how to help, go to http://www.fasting5k.org/wp/detroit/