Austin Islamic community Dawoodi Bohra provides financial assistance, face masks during pandemic

Members of the Dawoodi Bohra community have sewn more than 100 masks for essential workers and have donated them to The Mask Brigade of Williamson County. (Courtesy Mubaraka Malbari)
Members of the Dawoodi Bohra community have sewn more than 100 masks for essential workers and have donated them to The Mask Brigade of Williamson County. (Courtesy Mubaraka Malbari)

Members of the Dawoodi Bohra community have sewn more than 100 masks for essential workers and have donated them to The Mask Brigade of Williamson County. (Courtesy Mubaraka Malbari)

During the holy month of Ramadan, which ran from April 23 to May 23, Muslim practitioners engaged in fasting, prayer, reflection and community outreach. With the onset of the coronavirus crisis, those sentiments have been all the more important, said Mubaraka Malbari, a spokesperson for the Dawoodi Bohra community of Austin.

The Dawoodi Bohra community of Austin has worked to provide financial assistance and offered support to first responders and essential personnel during the health crisis, Malbari said. In the past few months, the congregation has only been able to meet virtually, but Malbari said that has not impeded them from assisting area communities.

Malbari said the Dawoodi Bohra community has provided financial assistance to the Central Texas Food Bank, a partner of theirs in previous food drives and community efforts. The community has sewn and donated more than 100 masks to The Mask Brigade, a Williamson County-based task force that aims to support first responders, medical personnel and high-risk residents.

"Most people were just very grateful," Malbari said. "Overall, it's been a lot of positive sentiments and people happy to hear that we were available."

With some of the sanitation and health safety concerns during the pandemic, Malbari said the community was looking for ways to support health care workers beyond masks. The Dawoodi Bohra community initially wanted to donate food to front-line workers, she said, but expressed concern about hygiene practices and safety concerns that could arise from outside food donations.


To show their appreciation to essential workers, Malbari said children within the community are making virtual cards and sending photographs of their designs to health care workers and professionals at area St. David's HealthCare and Baylor Scott & White Health locations.

The chapter has been active in the greater Austin community for years, Malbari said, where community has been at the forefront of their work. Whether physically together or socially distanced, Malbari said Dawoodi Bohra is still united in its mission.

"We've been around for a long time in Austin, and being a productive member of the community has always been important to us and part of our religion," Malbari said. "In Islam, charity is a really big part of that. And during Ramadan, that's been an even bigger driver of that."
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


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