Muslim volunteers have been helping to clean up national parks across the country after litter-pickers were furloughed during the government shutdown.
The volunteers came from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, the largest association of its kind in America, with the aim of proving their faith through service.
Dozens of Muslim volunteers joined local residents to help clean up national parks across the country left strewn with trash after government litter-pickers were furloughed
The trash collectors gathered in Washington DC (pictured), Florida, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, California and Ohio to help clean up
The group, which accepts members aged from 15 to 40, aims to increase interactions between different cultures and promote a positive view of Islam.
Dr. Madeel Abdullah, president of youth group, said: ‘Service to our nation and cleanliness are important parts of Islam.
‘We could not sit idly by as our national parks collected trash. We will lead by example and dispose of this garbage appropriately and invite all Americans to join us in these parks and others across the nation.’
Meanwhile Saud Iqbal, a 33-year-old IT specialist, told the Washington Post: ‘It’s our duty to come in and serve – not as a show, but as an act of faith. I don’t think a lot of people realise that.’
Several national parks – including Crater Lake in Oregon and Point Reyes National Seashore in California – were forced to close or restrict access because of the buildup of trash and human waste that was not being cleared away.
The Ahmadiyya group said it hoped their efforts would help to keep the parks open and encourage a dialogue between Muslims and the wider community.
There was no end in sight for the shutdown on Sunday, despite President Trump bragging about a ‘productive’ meeting between his administration and Democrats.
Several parks had been forced to close or reduce access to visitors amid a build-up of waste, and the volunteers said their actions should keep the parks open a little longer
The volunteers came from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, and said their public service was an act of faith
Trump is demanding that a government funding bill include $5billion to build his southern border wall, while Democrats – who now control the House – have offered $1billion for increased security.
The government shutdown began on December 22 when Trump vetoed the spending bill, and entered its 18th day on Monday.
While Trump has said he could have the government back open ‘in 20 minutes’, he has also suggested the shutdown could go on ‘for years’ if he doesn’t get his way.
Trump said he can relate to furloughed government workers as the partial government shutdown heads into its third week.
‘I can relate and I’m sure that the people who are on the receiving end will make adjustments, they always do,’ he said.
‘But many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing,’ he added.
‘They will make an adjustment because they want to see the border taken care of,’ Trump said later Sunday as he stood firm that all would be well for federal workers.
‘It’ll all work out,’ he said.