Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mosques Play A Major Role In Disaster Relief

In Indonesia, the world's most disaster prone country with the largest Muslim population, disaster management experts say that mosques could act as more than just a spiritual refuge.

The physical structure of the mosque as well as the influence religious leaders have over society should be tapped in the event of a disaster.

"These religious leaders will be trained and inspired to touch the humanitarian side and cooperation between people to support development and relief of suffering as their message is so effective and well-recieved by communities," said Ali M. Noor Muhammad, the country director for Islamic Relief Indonesia.

According to a report by the IRI, the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Nahadiatul Ulama, it as a traditional Sunni islam organization in Indonesia that was the first to research the potential of mosques to have a role in disaster relief.

The country is home to over 600,000 mosques. A recent report by the head of Research and Development likened the country's mosques to a library with a whole lot of books, but in dire need of a catalogue with a coordination strategy.

The report though is seen as a important way to revitalize and empower mosques, while assisting society. The mosque could be a key element in disaster-risk reduction and a key element to save lives.

-Gabrielle Gurian