When Malika MacDonald watched from afar the devastation caused by unrest in Baltimore's long-struggling neighborhoods, the Boston-based worker with Muslim charity ICNA Relief USA felt compelled to help. Staff and volunteers with the group, which helps disaster victims, came to the city earlier this month and distributed food and hygiene goods to elderly residents living on riot-torn blocks.
On Saturday, MacDonald returned to the city, this time for the annual convention of the Islamic Circle of North America, (ICNA) as an attendee and speaker, but also to continue the charity's work in the city. The annual convention's theme this year — to dispel growing misperceptions about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad — dovetailed with her own work with one of the nation's largest domestic charities, MacDonald said.
"I don't feel comfortable in my life when I know others are suffering," MacDonald said, as she bustled around a convention center room stacked with more food and supplies that were to be distributed Sunday to Baltimore's homeless.