One unit of blood at a time, Muslims for Life are working toward exceeding their goal of collecting 12,000 units of blood in honor of the victims of Sept. 11.
Local blood drive organizer Abdul Nasir explained that Muslims for Life is a national initiative that for the second year in a row is running blood drives across the country. In 2011, they were able to exceed their goal of 11,000 by 803 units, according to the Muslims for Life website.
"Last year we surpassed our target and this year we are going to go way beyond our target," Nasir said. "We want to do something to save some lives."
Two blood drives will take place in Old Bridge this weekend. The first will be on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Senior Center in the Old Bridge Township Plaza at the intersection of County Road 516 and Cottrell Road.
A second blood drive will be held at the community center at 27 South Street in Old Bridge on Sunday, Sept. 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are preferred and can be made at www.redcross.org. Enter sponsor code 02215893 or search by zip code 08857 to create a profile and schedule an appointment.
According to the Muslims for Life's website, collecting blood to honor the victims "reiterate[s] the message that Islam values the sanctity of life."
The Muslims for Life initiative is supported by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, one of the oldest muslim communities in America, Nasir explained.
According to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's local website, the religion began in 1889 and is the only Islamic organization to recognize a messiah, namely Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Followers believe that Ahmad was sent by God, "to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace." The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is known for its opposition to terrorism and as one of the only Muslim communities to believe in the separation of the mosque and the government.
"It's a peaceful and peace-loving community and totally faithful to the country and the government," Nasir explained. "This is not just because we live here and we are supposed to but it's based on our teaching in the Quran that you must be loyal to the country were you live. That's what we practice."
Questions about the blood drive can be directed to Nasir via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.