Mormons, Muslims Team Up in Salt Lake for Middle East Relief Efforts

August 9, 2006

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

On August 9, 2006 The Salt Lake Tribune reported, "As the latest round of violence in the Middle East continues to flare between Israel and Hezbollah, two disparate religious groups - Mormons and Muslims - have pooled their resources to aid the casualties of the conflict. Mormons, who have a long history of disaster preparedness, have the supplies. And Muslims, who consider charity one of the five pillars of Islam, have the contacts on the ground. During the first week of August, a plane filled with 85 tons of supplies - baby formula; powdered milk; medical supplies; hand soap; and hygiene kits filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste and other personal products - left Salt Lake City for a Lebanese port. 'We kind of complement each other,' said Mokhtar Shawky, acting CEO of Islamic Relief, based in Buena Park, Calif. 'We try to help with the transportation costs. They put the material together. We have our people overseas that distribute it to the needy.' Garry Flake, the director of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' humanitarian emergency response, said combining forces was a matter of practicality. 'When you get into the Islamic world, they have some strengths that others of us don't,' he said. 'It's just simply driven by the idea that there's people in need, and we reach out where an organization has a strength that we can match up to.' Shawky estimated the recent shipment of supplies was worth $1.5 million, while church officials declined to place a value on them."