US prisoner donates salary to Gaza, donors raise over Rs 82L for him

A 56-year-old man, who converted to Islam in 1989, is set to be released this month after nearly 40 years in prison.

Hamza, a prison incarcerated in California jail and working as a janitor and porter, donated all of his salary of dollars 17.74 (Rs 1,468.62) to support relief efforts in the Gaza Strip.

This act of generosity was shared on X by Justin Mashouf, an LA-based filmmaker and a correspondent of Hamza’s.

“An incarcerated brother I am in correspondence with donated 17.74 dollars for relief efforts in Gaza. This donation is the sum of 136 hours of his labour in the prison working as a porter/janitor. May his sincere donation be multiplied by the Creator,” Mashouf wrote on X.

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Mashouf’s post about Hamza’s donation garnered significant support from advocates, showcasing the profound impact of his efforts.

Hamza’s generosity led to the creation of a GoFundMe campaign, which raised over 1,00,000 dollars (Rs 82,79,480) in a single day, surpassing its initial goal of 15,000 dollars (Rs 12,41,752).

The fundraiser was suspended after exceeding 1,00,000 dollars in donations.

Hamza requested to stop the donations, telling Mashouf that what was collected was sufficient for him, and that he didn’t want to “distract attention from those who are suffering more than him.”

A 56-year-old man, who converted to Islam in 1989, is set to be released this month after nearly 40 years in prison.

Hamza’s prison journey

“In the 80’s, Hamza accidentally fired a gun at a loved one, which, killing the victim, [led] to his imprisonment for over four decades,” Mashouf wrote on the GoFundMe page.

“He has lived with the pain of losing his family member due to his own mistake every day for decades. While in prison, he has become a devout Muslim and has been pleading for parole for decades.”

“Thanks to a new California law that grants parole opportunities to minors charged as adults and a private attorney hired with funds gathered from the Muslim community, Hamza has finally been granted parole and will walk free at the end of March.”

“Your contributions will empower him to transition back into society with dignity and security after years of isolation,” Mashouf wrote. “With your help, Hamza will access essential resources, secure housing and transportation, and navigate the challenges of his new freedom.”

The funds will be allocated for rent, utilities, clothing, job search and training, as well as cellphone services.

Hamza has expressed his gratitude to GoFundMe donors through Mashouf.

“From my heart I thank you all for your generosity and kindness in donating these funds to help and assist me upon my release from prison,” Hamza wrote.

“However I must ask each of you now to please … look upon and consider the suffering children, mothers and fathers of Palestine, Yemen, and Africa living under inhuman[e] conditions, being bombed every hour of the day, without water, shelter, medication and food … who are ordinary people and citizens just like all of you living their lives having not a thing to do with the politicians, but are suffering [in]humanely,” he added.

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