At the ‘House of Goods’, everyone from Syrian refugees to penniless Christians can help themselves to free household items.
Despite resistance against Obama’s plan to open the U.S. to 10,000 refugees from the Middle East, Adil Imdad and Dzemal Bijedic have kept with their inspired vision to offer household items to Syrian refugees and other individuals having a rough time in life.
St. Louis Today reports that the two followers of the Islamic faith didn’t intend to go public with their plan to open the thrift shop, but have decided it’s the right thing to do in order to help dissolve the nation’s Islamophobia.
“The reason we’re doing this publicly now is because of the backlash against Muslims and the Islamophobia,” Imdad said as he showed off the warehouse in south St. Louis, near Kingshighway and Oleatha Avenue.
“Immediately, when we heard the Syrians were coming, Dzemal and I said: ‘We need to be more organized,’” said Imdad, who, in 1981, at the age of 13, immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan. Bijedic ventured to the U.S. from Bosnia in 1997.
The building they’re using is rented by the Islamic Foundation and is filled with donations from Muslims, many of them refugees. Many people are providing donations and their time as volunteers because they know what it’s like to flee their country and arrive in a foreign land with next to nothing.
All of the items in the thrift shop are free, including help with delivery. And, absolutely everyone is welcome to help themselves to the community’s donated offerings.
“Anybody can walk in. Hindus, Jews, Christians, Mormons,” said Imdad.
Those struggling are not confined to one faith, Bijedic said.
“As a police chaplain, I see a lot of things. I see how people struggle. You are not supposed to judge people by their cover.”
The sign on the warehouse will read “Bait Ulmal.” Roughly translated, it’s Arabic for “house of goods,” Imdad said. In English, the sign also will refer to the building as “refugee welcome center.”
The warehouse opened last week and was packed with items donated by a mosque in Little Rock, Arkansas. Thanks to social media, Muslims around the country have been made aware of the effort and are reaching out, wanting to help.
“This helps create a better society,” said Muhidin Gamut-Socor, a refugee from Somalia who relocated to St. Louis in 1996 and works with the Islamic Foundation as a translator.
For many refugees, it’s a struggle to adapt to a new country. Having gone through the acclimation process, Gamut-Socoro is glad he can now help others.
“We want to show them there is hope in America,” he said.
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