Bosnian Islamic Center of Bowling Green receives over $127,000 to help tornado victims

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GoFundMe

The Bosnian Islamic Center of Bowling Green’s tornado relief GoFundMe raised $34,212 to assist families impacted by the December storms.

Madison Carter, News Reporter

The December 2021 tornadoes that ravaged Kentucky resulted in the deaths of many Bowling Green community members and the destruction of numerous homes and businesses. 

Immediately following the tragedy, Muamer Sljivic, imam at the Bosnian Islamic Center of Bowling Green, received many calls from city residents looking for assistance.

Sljivic was quick to offer his help. The Bosnian Islamic Center and the Islamic Center of Bowling Green came together to form a group of volunteers who could help the community. 

It is not important if you are a Muslim, if you are Christian, if you are Jewish. You are a human being, and we need to help each other.”

— Muamer Sljivic

At the Bosnian Islamic Center, a tornado relief board was formed. The board gathered information on those who had suffered from the disaster and invited any of those impacted to fill out an application in order to receive aid. 

A fundraiser was started online and donations were accepted inside the center, Sljivic said. In total, the mosque received over $127,000 in donations. The tornado relief GoFundMe alone raised $34,212, and the rest of the funds were donated directly to the mosque.

“We have spent more than $64,000,” Sljivic said. “We still have a little bit more than $63,000.”

The $64,000 was spent to help victims of the tornado. After reviewing applications and deciding who had top priority, the center wrote checks or gave cash to applicants. 

37 families were provided with money, Sljivic said. The mosque also provided hotels for those who had lost their homes or had significant damage. 

Sljivic emphasized the fundraiser was for the entire community of Bowling Green and that the Islamic centers worked closely with the city during the event. 

“In the coming weeks and months, families will need significant contributions to rebuild their lives back to normal,” the Tornado Relief GoFundMe stated. “We will work in hand with the city and other government organizations to ensure that the funds are distributed to those in need in a transparent and honest fashion.”

Although the fundraiser was started through the Islamic center, the mosque was willing to offer help to anyone impacted by the tornadoes, Sljivic said. 

“We wanted to make this event for everyone,” Sljivic said. It is not important if you are a Muslim, if you are Christian, if you are Jewish. You are a human being, and we need to help each other.” 

The catastrophes like these just make the faith even stronger in believers’ hearts. We need to think about the humanity. Being the same religion or different religion, being the same language or different language, being the same color of the skin or different color of the skin, be good to your neighbor.”

— Muamer Sljivic

Before the tornado hit, the Bosnian Islamic center was already expecting to receive nearly 200 Afghan refugees, Sljivic said. In preparation for this, the center had begun collecting supplies such as clothes, furniture, carpets and monetary donations.

After the tornado hit, victims were invited to the mosque to take any supplies they might have needed. 

“In that time, many humanitarian organizations offered help,” Sljivic said. 

ICNA Relief and the United Hands for Relief were some of the organizations that sent supplies, such as clothes and hygiene products, for the mosque to distribute, Sljivic said. The mosque was then able to use donations from those organizations for both tornado victims and Afghan refugees who came to Bowling Green.

Sljivic said the event has made believers’ faith stronger.

“The catastrophes like these just make the faith even stronger in believers’ hearts,” Sljivic said. “We need to think about the humanity. Being the same religion or different religion, being the same language or different language, being the same color of the skin or different color of the skin, be good to your neighbor.” 

Sljivic quoted verse 49:13 from the Quran, a passage he believes to be representative of his faith and how humanity should act in times of crisis. It states: “Human beings, We created you all from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Verily the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God-fearing of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” 

News Reporter Madison Carter can be reached at [email protected]