Minneapolis Sanctuary: Emergency Response


On June 9, 2020, more than 200 unsheltered people seeking refuge and sanctuary at the former Sheraton Minneapolis Midtown Hotel were effectively evicted from the premises, leaving them — once again — with no safe shelter, in the midst of a pandemic.


Since then, community members, volunteers and housing activists have coordinated a rapid emergency response, pushing the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to deem all Minneapolis park land as sanctuary for unsheltered people and arranging for food, water, sanitation, community safety patrols, medical support and supportive services onsite. This effort began at Powderhorn Park, and has now reached a growing number of parks throughout the city.


ZACAH is working in close partnership with the residents and organizers at the Minneapolis Sanctuary to provide immediate financial relief and move the most vulnerable residents — especially women and children — into hotels. We echo Sanctuary organizers’ demands that the county, city and state take on the responsibility of providing hotels as temporary, transitional housing to keep people safe until there are real, dignified housing options. 


Elected and administrative officials at every level of government have failed to intervene as the housing crisis in Minneapolis reaches fever pitch. But we cannot wait. We are accountable only for our own actions or inaction. We will not allow our unsheltered relatives to be displaced and systematically barred from safe, dignified housing.


Our duty to our neighbors — and the rights our neighbors have on us — is at the core of Islam. If members of our community are in need, in danger, or fighting illness or calamity, and we do not intervene, we are accountable.


Al-Imam `Ali ibn al-Husayn (a. s.) said:


“These are your duties towards your neighbour: Protect his interests when he is absent; show him respect when he is present; help him when he is inflicted with any injustice. Do not remain on the look-out to detect his faults; and if, by any chance, you happen to know any undesirable thing about him, hide it from others; and, at the same time, try to desist him from improper habits, if there is any chance that he will listen to you. Never leave him alone at any calamity. Forgive him, if he has done any wrong.”

All donations designated as "Minneapolis Sanctuary Response" will be used to directly support the unsheltered residents at Sanctuaries in Minneapolis.


We stand in solidarity with the Minneapolis Sanctuary Movement and for the rights of all our unsheltered neighbors.