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Work With Passion, Serve With Love
Being in the trenches with the homeless has been a natural marriage between my life and faith practice.
Amanda Qurashi calls herself an “accidental activist.” On September 11, 2001, she had been practicing Islam for just two years. She says in the small Muslim community in her hometown of Austin, TX it wasn’t easy to find Muslims to do outreach work. Intentionally or not, she filled the void and eventually became part of a robust interfaith movement.
For Amanda, interfaith work is a profound endeavor. She was raised a Jehovah’s Witness but left the church at 18. For the next few years she suffered a spiritual crisis which ended one night when, despondent, she prayed aloud for help and for the first time experienced a sense of submission to God. That experience ultimately led her to Islam.
She describes her life since becoming Muslim as “exponentially better.” The challenge has been, as it is for many converts, to stay true to her identity as an American and a Muslim.
Amanda’s profession reflects her world view. She works for Mobile Loaves and Fishes, a Christian-based nonprofit organization that provides services to the homeless. She loves her work as an IT specialist and sees no conflict with being Muslim and working in a Christian organization. That goes both ways: when she applied for the job, the interviewer paused as he looked over her resume, which listed many Islam-related activities. Then he told her: you just be who you are, and we will be who we are, and as he predicted then, that has worked out fine.
She has been able to involve members of the local Muslim community with Mobile Loaves and Fishes’ work, recruiting “lots of awesome Muslim kids,” as she describes them, to share in activities like running food trucks catering to the homeless.
“Our community is just waiting for opportunities,” she says.
Amanda loves the work she does, the people she serves, and the community with which she engages. “Being in the trenches” is where she most wants to be.