Written by Fareeha Amir, IRUSA Multimedia Manager who travelled with a group of staff with Mohammed Assaf to Jordan in August 2019. Edited by Kelly El-Yacoubi.
Mohammed Assaf’s smile is contagious. So it’s no surprise that when he visited Islamic Relief USA projects in Jordan this past August, his positivity came right along with him.
The Palestinian singer is most well-known for winning the second season of Arab Idol in 2013, the precursor to his immense popularity as a singer and celebrity figure in the Middle East.
But Assaf’s influence extends beyond the microphone. As a child he grew up in a refugee camp in Gaza, an experience that has made him into a devout humanitarian as an adult.
“Living in the camps is difficult in every way. When we talk about the camps, how do I put it into words? [For those of us that grew up there,] it really affected our personality, and that is very important. Be aware.” – Mohammed Assaf
Assaf’s success is an inspiring reminder that those living in the worst conditions can still reach the stars. At the same time, Assaf is acutely aware of how much work needs to be done to make sure that opportunities of all kinds and levels are afforded to children in need.
That’s one reason why Mohammed Assaf has been a strong supporter of Islamic Relief USA’s work for years. His 2019 trip to Jordan allowed him to gain a first-hand look at IRUSA projects. This fall he’ll be promoting the projects as part of the 2019 Evening of Inspiration: Promise for Palestine tour across the United States.
His visit also meant that children who are refugees in Jordan got to be surprised by a visit from a very special and unexpected guest.
The children had been rehearsing a performance of one of Assaf’s songs for weeks. They were under the impression that they would be performing for a personal friend of Mohammed Assaf. Little did they know they were prepping for the real Mohammed Assaf!
As the children began to perform, Assaf entered the room to the complete and utter surprise of the children. Their eyes sparkled in delight, and their performance became even better.
After the performance was over, Assaf connected with the children through his personable charm and caring conversation with each of them, as if he had known them for ages.
They all seemed right at home with each other.
Assaf was able to visit various Islamic Relief USA projects that day, including an education project for children who are refugees, a mobile health clinic, and several families of orphans who receive IRUSA sponsorships.
As Assaf visited each project, he smiled brightly and listened, and the children did the same. Though his visit was short, it left a lasting impact on him and those he met.
Islamic Relief USA is intent on increasing that impact through the upcoming 2019 Evening of Inspiration: Promise for Palestine tour in the United States. Assaf and his band will perform in a record number of cities around the country to garner even more awareness and support for the needs of the people of Palestine.
From our family to yours, let’s keeping working together for a better world.