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Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) volunteers pack boxes with nonperishable foods that will be distributed to residents in need during Ramadan. IRUSA, a humanitarian and advocacy organization based in Virginia, recently awarded a $15,000 grant to a Queens-based organization, Turning Point for Women and Families.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), a nonprofit humanitarian and advocacy organization, has awarded a $15,000 grant to a Flushing organization for its campaign denouncing anti-Muslim harassment and bullying.

IRUSA, based in Alexandria, VA, awarded the “Silver Anniversary” grant to Turning Point for Women and Families, a Flushing community-based nonprofit organization addressing the needs of Muslim women and children affected by domestic violence.

“As with all applicants, it was strictly based on the quality of the application. A committee reviewed all applications on the merits of the proposals,” said Syed Hassan, media relations specialist at IRUSA. “This project will help empower young people to create a social media campaign that will address the negative behaviors that, unfortunately, have seemed to become more common.”

The “Silver Anniversary Community Bridge-Building” program was announced as an initiative to bridge the differences that frequently divide communities — such as religion, race or political opinion, according to IRUSA. The grant announcement generated 175 formal inquiries from organizations working in 36 states and the territory of Puerto Rico, demonstrating that people all across America are interested in finding common bonds and committing to a common mission for the sake of their communities.  

It’s the first time IRUSA had chosen an organization from Queens, according to Hassan. The Silver Anniversary grant was a one-time grant process, as it was a part of making their milestone. However, organizations are welcome to apply for project grants throughout the year, said Hassan.

“The tremendous response from grassroots, community-based and national organizations shows that people who on the surface have little in common can come together to make the world a better place — a place where there’s more unity, more sensitivity, and an endless amount of potential and promise,” said Anne Wilson, director of programs for IRUSA.

Turning Point in partnership with Grace Episcopal Church youth leaders will work together to facilitate workshops and launch a social media campaign to educate their peers and communities on the impacts of bullying and hate, as well as share bystander intervention strategies.

The project seeks to build bridges within the larger Muslim and Christian communities, with the goal of promoting community cohesion and greater respect across different faiths, nationalities, race, gender, sexual orientation and immigration status, according to IRUSA.

Turning Point for Women and Families is honored to receive IRUSA’s ‘Silver Anniversary Grant’ and to work with our partners from Grace Episcopal Church,” said Tazmin Uddin, youth program coordinator at Turning Point. “We look forward to helping a generation of upstanding individuals take the lead as they address bullying, hate, and all the forms of discrimination that seek to separate us.”

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