Maputo’s Muslims Rally To Help Cyclone Idai Victims Hundreds Of Miles From Home

Macsud Samsadin sits in a white cap and long, cream, Islamic jubba, offering water and rissois – breaded prawns with green chili – to guests for free. His small halal takeaway joins on to the yellow and white Jumma Mosque in downtown Maputo, the capital of Mozambique.

“You are my friend,” the 47-year-old says. “There is no price. Tomorrow we are going to die, we must make life easy.”

The hospitality of the deputy of the Mozambican capital’s oldest mosque is not unique. In the past fortnight, members of the Muslim community around the city have clubbed together to help thousands of their compatriots some 1,200 kilometres north.

In central Mozambique, Cyclone Idai has left a scene of carnage rarely witnessed before in the southern hemisphere. More than 450 people have been killed, hundreds of thousands lie in displacement camps and officials have confirmed the first cases of cholera as fears rise that a new disaster is about to unfold. In Sofala Province, the area worst affected, the city of Beira is 90 per cent destroyed and the town of Buzi lies underwater.

Word has spread around Maputo through chatter, WhatsApp and Facebook that there is a group of Muslim men coordinating a significant relief effort for victims of Idai.

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