Blood drives in remembrance of 9/11 victims are taking place across the country as the 10th anniversary of the attack approaches.
While most blood drives last a day, a Muslim organization has coordinated a month-long campaign to collect 10,000 pints. One pint can save up to three lives.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and institutions of other faiths have organized about 220 locations—from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to San Jose. The Norcross Baitul Baqi mosque is holding a drive on Sept. 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 6113 Oakbrook Pkwy as part of the effort.
Red Cross Blood Donation Centers across Georgia will also be collecting blood for the drive. Visit a local center any time during the month of Sept., then use the code "Muslims for Life" to contribute to the drive.
The concept behind Muslims for Life came from a desire to promote peace and understanding after 9/11. Naseem Mahdi, national vice president and missionary in-charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said he came up with idea while he was in Canada at the time of the attacks.
"So when I saw this heinous crime against humanity, I was in state of shock," he said. "My thought was if this had been done by so-called Muslims, this would be a bad day for us and Islam. Unfortunately, this was a bad intro to Islam by people who had no authority to use the word Islam."
Other houses of worship, such as churches and synagogues, plan to host blood drives as part of Muslims for Life, said Mahdi.
Mahdi himself had the opportunity tell President Obama about the blood drives when he was invited to the annual iftar dinner at the White House.
"He came to our table, and I had two and a half to three minutes for a one-on-one, " said Mahdi. "He commended our efforts, 'This is very timely what you are doing.' So we had encouragement from president of the USA."
With 16,000 letters sent out to officials at the local, state and federal levels, and about 220 locations lined up, donors now just need to volunteer.
"I have invited the president to come to one of these blood drives to show his support and solidarity with us," he said.
For more information, visit muslimsforlife.org.