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Madison’s Muslim Loan Program Gets Response from Federal Employees | Local government






Masood Akhtar, entrepreneur and counselor for Madison’s Muslim community, speaks at an event hosted by the Capital Times in October.


SAIYNA BASHIR


A Madison Muslim activist who launched a loan program for struggling federal workers during the partial government shutdown says he has received half a dozen requests for financial assistance.

Masood Akhtar announced this week that he and other members of the local Muslim community have raised $ 50,000 for the effort, prompting requests from as far away as Florida and Philadelphia. But he hopes to target federal workers closer to home.

“I also plan to do some targeted outreach, like contacting TSA at our Dane County airport, Forest Products Laboratory employees in Madison, etc.,” he said in an email.

As the shutdown enters 33 days and workers are on the verge of missing their second paycheck, hundreds of federal workers employed at the Forest Products Laboratory and other federal operations like the US Geological Survey and US Dairy Forage have put together hundreds of scientists, administrators and support staff. Administrators say some struggled to pay their bills, and others took charge temporary jobs.

Akhtar, president and founder of We Are Many – United Against Hate, said he came up with the idea for the loans while talking with other Muslims about the financial stress that federal workers face on leave.