A steady stream of people flocked to Dar Al Noor Mosque in Manassas this weekend to donate clothes, food and other supplies to help Afghan refugees landing in Northern Virginia.
More than a thousand people fleeing Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Taliban’s swift takeover flew into Dulles Airport. Some have been temporarily sheltering at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus and at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly. Most will be headed out of Virginia to be resettled elsewhere in the coming weeks.
Dar Al Noor Mosque put out a bulletin on social media asking for donations on Friday. Within four hours of their first call for help, volunteers were sorting through "truckloads” of supplies brought in by area residents to bring to about 1,200 refugees sheltering at the community college, said Jake Zargarpur, chair of the Muslim Association of Virginia board.
“They came with nothing. And the community came together to help,” Zargarpur said.
In the mid-1990s, Zainab Mohsini and her family fled Afghanistan just before the Taliban too…
Most of the refugees who arrived over the weekend will be resettled outside Virginia. But an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 out of a total of 100,000 Afghan refugees are expected to be settle in Virginia in the coming months, Zargarpur said.
At Dar Al Noor Mosque, more than 400 volunteers are preparing to help with the settlement of thousands of refugees in the area. They will be assisting other larger nonprofits like the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, or LIRS, to provide housing assistance, interpreters and teachers for incoming refugees.
Efforts to reach LIRS for more information about the number of refugee families expected to settle in Northern Virginia were not immediately successful.
The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s quick takeover of the country left thousands of Afghans scrambling to leave Kabul, especially those who have worked alongside the U.S. military during the 20-year war. Social media posts of scenes of crowded military airplanes, and people rushing onto the tarmac at Kabul’s airport, have shown the desperation of many who want to leave.
Many of those who worked with the military were granted special immigrant visas allowing them safe refuge in the U.S. Zargarpur said the volunteers at Dar Al Noor “will be ready to help them when they get here.”
The Northern Virginia Regional Commission, which includes Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair Ann Wheeler, Manassas Mayor Michelle Davis-Younger and Manassas Park Mayor Jeanette Rishell, issued a statement regarding regional refugee resettlement on Tuesday.
“Citizens of Northern Virginia are following with great concern and compassion the evacuation of Afghan refugees by the brave men and women of our Armed Forces and civilian agencies,” the statement read. “We welcome our new neighbors and wish them much success as they transition to a new life here in the region and across the United States.”