By Bassel Barakat
A Muslim immigrant has become an icon of humanity in Washington D.C. as his restaurant has been providing free food to homeless and poor people every single day.
Kazi Mannan, owner of Sakina Halal Grill, is an immigrant from a small village in Pakistan. When he arrived in the United States in 1996, had only $3 in his pocket.
“Once upon a time, I was in a similar situation where I didn’t have enough money to eat, ” Mannan said.
“You pass by a restaurant but never able to go in. When you don’t have money, nobody is going to let you in,” he said.
Sakina Halal Grill is located a few blocks far from the White House.
The Muslim immigrant has been adopting his mother’s teachings. Mannan’s mother, Sakina, used to send her children to give food to their neighbors.
“My mother, I really greatly appreciate how she taught us in our upbringing to thank God, that was the attitude,” said Mannan.
“That was her way of worshipping God,” he said.
“That question, I ask God every day. How do I keep my business open, growing and making profit?”
“Many friends said, ‘don’t let homeless people come inside your restaurant. They will ruin your business,’ “he recalled.
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“It’s inside of my heart that I have food and other person who can’t afford it doesn’t. If I fail, I fail! I don’t care. It’s humanity.”
He never asks questions to the people who ask for food.
“If someone says I need a free meal, OK,” Mannan said.
“If you can’t afford a meal, come in and have a free meal. Enjoy the same atmosphere that everybody who is paying is enjoying,” Mannan said.
“People have fear that a lot of homeless people have mental issues, health issues, they are dirty, not clean and if you let them come in they will ruin your business,” Mannan said. “I tell them look at my life and look at my restaurant – does this look dirty to you?”
According to Mannan, all the decor of the restaurant was imported from Pakistan.
“I don’t want any donation but if you’re coming in to eat, that’s your support of helping a community restaurant that is offering kindness and love others,” Mannan said. “I’m trying to worship our Creator through food.”
In a related context, Muslim Refugee-owned falafel shop offers free meals to federal workers.
A falafel restaurant opened by a Syrian refugee in Tennessee is offering free meals to the workers affected by the government’s shutdown.
Yassin Terou, a refugee who fled war in his home country of Syria seven years ago, is the owner and operator of
Yassin’s Falafel House in Knoxville, Tennessee, announced his free-meal initiative on the restaurant’s Facebook page.