'Humanitarian Day' will reach out to downtown homeless during month of Ramadan

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Ramadan started on July 19th and goes on for an entire month—during which Muslims are expected to fast, think about the world they live in and help others.

Compton native Umar Hakim’s Guyanese mother raised him to be an Episcopalian, but later he converted to Islam. For a dozen years, he’s visited people who live in downtown L.A.’s Skid Row during his religion’s holiest month.

“We don’t need to say anything," says Hakim. "We need to do something by putting our faith into action."

Hakim says Humanitarian Day is the creation of a Muslim-led coalition soon after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"Ramadan is a month of reading the Qur’an, internalizing its meanings and trying to apply them in the best way possible to our personal lives and social causes, so all that translated into Humanitarian Day.”

That day arrives on Aug. 12, when Towne Street between 4th and 5th Streets in downtown L.A. will be closed to car traffic. Hakim and fellow Muslims plan to line the block with tents, where they’ll make clothing, food, toys, hygiene kits and health screenings available to their homeless neighbors.

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