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Islamic Media Finds Heart for US Muslim
Used for years as an excellent tool for Dawah activities, Islamic websites and social media have been proved as a perfect tool to gather support for the needy, after a successful campaign went viral to offer help for a Muslim heart transplant patient.
''Social media and the news articles helped us connect with people on different continents,'' Mujtaba Ahsan, the older brother for the patient Maria Haroon, told New America Media on Sunday, December 1.
''Most of our support came from the US and India, but we also received donations from people in other parts of the world, such as the UK and the Middle East.''
Maria’s case went viral at social media after her family launched a fund raising campaign beyond US to save the life of the 31-year-old Muslim.
Under the title 'Heart for Maria Haroon', a Facebook page was made to raise money for the operation.
Twitter followers were also able to make contributions for Maria through @HeartForMaria.
Maria used to celebrate her birthday with her identical twin sister Sara, but last October she celebrated alone after her sister died of a heart disease last March, both served as practicing pediatricians in India.
Young Maria, like her deceased sister, suffers from weakness and enlargement in the heart that it cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body.
While waiting for a heart transplant, Maria is being kept alive by an artificial heart.
In addition to social networks, Islamic media have also played a crucial role in promoting Maria's case.
US Muslims are estimated between six to seven millions.
A recent Pew research found that American Muslims are the most moderate around the world.
It showed that US Muslims generally express strong commitment to their faith and tend not to see an inherent conflict between being devout and living in a modern society.
The coverage of Islamic media outlets, like the Muslim Link and Illume, of Maria's case has granted it more legitimacy and 'credibility'.
''There are so many cases of people making up stories and then setting up fake accounts to take donations,'' Ahsan, a business professor at San Diego State University, said.
''So for us, the media added credibility. Because Maria’s story was written about in reliable media outlets, people knew that her case was real,'' he added.
Moved by Maria's case, the Muslim Link has obligated to publicize her condition to gain wider support.
''Ethnic media reaches groups of people and communities who would most likely be affected by a case like this,'' Minhaj Hasan, the editor-in-chief of the Muslim Link, said.
''American Muslims read our paper, and many of them are of Indian and Pakistani origin.
''Many also belong to a subgroup of doctors and medical professionals, so I was hoping some of those medical professionals would be moved enough to get involved, share their connections, expertise – and yes – their money as well.''
Highlighting the major plague that face Maria, Illume, the digital national Islamic media outlet, screamed that she is not 'insured'.
Illume said that Haroon will have to pay for the heart transplant out of pocket.
Living with her older brother at San Diego in California, Maria has raised about $150,000 out of $1 million which is estimated for heart transportation.
Hasan underlined the ethical rule of religious media to make a 'difference' in citizens' life.
''In the end, I was trying to help a fellow human being with whatever resources I had in front of me. In this case, it was the newspaper and our website, and so I wrote the piece and we published it,'' Hasan said.
''All we can do is try, and let God take care of the rest.''