FARIBAULT, Minn. (FOX 9) - Members of a Faribault’s Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center mosque are rallying around a local family dealing with unimaginable tragedy.
Despite cultural and religious differences, a bond has formed to help a family who lost a child in December while supporting another son battling an aggressive cancer.
Within an hour, mosque leaders raised thousands of dollars during a prayer service for the young family.
It’s the Ramadan season for Muslims, and it’s all about helping one another and giving back to charity.
Nate Howells and Bashir Omar have been friends for a while and Howells’ family has enjoyed many Friday prayer services at the Faribault mosque before.
Two weeks ago, he and his 10-year-old son were in for a surprise when they joined the members during a Ramadan service.
“Within an hour, this small group of Muslims in my hometown raised over $6,000 for my son,” said Howells.
Xavier Howells is battling Myosarcoma, a malignant muscle tumor that’s spread to his lungs. He’s undergone two aggressive rounds of chemotherapy.
While treating their 10-year-old’s disease, the family also buried their 3-year-old son Caismir in December after he died from complications of choking.
“These last few years have been really tough,” Howells said. “When they heard his story, everybody started donating money to him.”
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are strongly encouraged to donate and help others in need. Omar thought, what better way to help his friend then to raise money to offset medical costs.
“We are here to show the people that we are here to contribute and help our community,” Omar said.
“We are just amazed and humbled by their generosity,” said Howells.
Xavier had a typical response for a 10-year-old.
“It was cool,” he said succinctly.
Both Howells and Omar say this experience shows what compassion can do to bring a community together.
“These moments are really great and we cherish them,” said Howells.
“I’m a Muslim, he’s a Christian, and we still live together in a community that supports one another,” Omar added.
To contribute to the Howells, visit their GoFundMe page.