On Friday, June 29, 2012 one of the strongest summer storms in years hit the DC region leaving more than one million homes without power. Fuel by the high temperatures and humidity, the storm generated winds of up to 80 mph.
In Falls Church, Virginia, tens of thousands of homes and businesses lost power, but the Dar-Al-Hijrah Islamic Center was not one of them. All around the masjid houses were dark, but the lights remained on at the masjid.
The masjid leadership decided to extend their neighborly help to those who needed it, sweltering in hot homes with the temperatures into triple digits. The masjid would be a regional “cooling center”, open for the general public all day from fajr until 11 PM. Cold drinks and snacks were offered to all free of charge. Outlets were available for people to recharge their phones and other devices, and space was plentiful for those who wanted to settle into a corner and get some work done or read a book. The showers in the bathrooms were also available for use. Both the courtyard and the carpeted masjid area were part of the “cooling center” area.
“Roughly 100 people [used the cooling center] some were neighbors, and others were people who attended the masjid”, said Imam Johari. He received letters from local churches thanking the Muslim community for its generosity.