Interfaith effort to aid Japan

March 14, 2011

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An interfaith effort to provide relief funds to Japan is gearing up across the Chicago region.

Several Japanese groups here are collecting money, along with the Red Cross. Religious groups have joined that effort. The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago is taking donations. So is the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.

"We do not want to just focus on Muslim-centric countries or Muslim issues," said communications director Kiran Ansari. "When a country is hurting, we have to do whatever we can to rally support in Chicago and send it to Japan as soon as possible."

Ansari said the council's partner agencies have food and medical teams on the ground and more on the way. She said it's especially urgent to donate now when the money can still help find survivors.

The death toll in Japan is still rising. Many survivors reportedly are living without running water or heat.