The flames that brought down the Islamic Society of Joplin's Missouri masjid in the early morning hours of August 6, 2012 sent a cloud of black ash that reached across the nation, including here in the Washington DC area.
Waheed Elahi, a 34-year old network engineer from Rockville, Maryland, learned about the fire the next day from an email.
“When I first heard about it, I read the [news] article and then went back to doing what I was doing. Then I went back to it a second time and it really hit me...this could happen anywhere... it doesn't matter if we were born here, speak the language, cheer for the same athletes...we are Muslim first and there are plenty of people in America who don't want us to have our freedom of religion either out of ignorance or hypocrisy. Either way we have to stand up and carry on, we have to turn to Allah and move forward,” he told the Muslim Link.
Soon after he had those thoughts, he got busy doing what an IT professional would do. He built a website to solicit donations for the Joplin masjid.
As soon as he got home from work he started working on a website, learning things he didn't know, like how to integrate paypal into the site. Three hours later, he had a working site: http://icofj.org .
Asked if any donations came through his site, he smiled and said “just mine”. However, during this month, and for such a blessed cause, he knows his account is already full, In shaa Allah.