Members of Whitehorse’s Jewish and Muslim communities are jointly organizing a fundraiser to support humanitarian aid in Gaza.
The fundraiser will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 19 at Lewis Hall inside Whitehorse United Church on Whitehorse’s Main Street. It is being described as an afternoon of music and food. The $25 price of admission being taken at the door will be donated to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Members of the Jewish and Muslim communities are providing food for the event.
The current bloodshed and destruction in Gaza kicked off in early October following a raid out of Gaza and into Israel by Hamas militants that left more than 1,000 Israelis dead. Since then, Israel has bombarded the strip of land that borders Egypt and the Mediterranean sea and more recently, sent in soldiers on the ground.
Rick Karp, one of the Jewish organizers of the fundraiser, described the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, noting that the Palestinian territory is geographically smaller than Whitehorse’s city limits but has more than 2 million people living in it. He said many people have been displaced away from the northern part of Gaza, further straining resources. Thousands of people have been injured or killed in Gaza since the fighting began.
“There are more than a million and a half people in southern Gaza. They’re not able to enter Egypt, nobody else really wants them. They’re stuck there. And there’s a serious humanitarian issue in southern Gaza, amongst the people who have moved down south into the southern part of Gaza to escape what’s going on right now in the north, around Gaza City,” Karp said
Limited humanitarian aid is making it in to the affected area on trucks.
“There should be more, a lot more, and there aren’t, so the people of Gaza are suffering. And we want to raise some funds, some money to go to the International Red Crescent/Red Cross,” Karp said.
He added that along with the admission at the door of Sunday’s fundraiser, additional donations are being accepted and tax receipts will be available for larger donations.
Israr Ahmed, a member of Whitehorse’s Muslim community who has worked on organizing the fundraiser, also feels it’s important to do something tangible to help alleviate the suffering in Gaza.
“We’ve all been watching the heart wrenching videos, the photos and listening to the horrific, horrendous accounts of how people have been enduring the ordeal since the past month,” Ahmed said.
Ahmed also says he is disturbed by the rise of Islamophobic and anti-Semitic incidents across Canada since this fresh round of fighting in Gaza began.
“So I thought, you know, as people from the faith communities come together, and we could have differences of opinions and differences of ideologies, but we can all unite on the fact that we can never stand behind human suffering and civilian casualties, no matter who is the perpetrator,” he said.
Ahmed said he looks forward to seeing a lot of people showing up on Nov. 19 to show support.
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