UK mosques find a holy good way to benefit the community

Eve Dugdale

Published: Updated:

Just two weeks ago, mosques around the UK opened their doors and invited members of the community to come inside to find out more about what happens and hopefully bust some myths surrounding Islam.

The annual Visit My Mosque Day aims to provide a platform for Muslims to reach out to fellow Brits and explain their faith and community beyond some of the negative media headlines. Visitors are also encouraged to ask questions they may have about Muslims.

However, this year’s event also intended to educate people about what British mosques institutions are by highlighting the way so many serve their localities and help people of all faiths.

From running food banks to organizing street cleans and inviting not only members but their neighbours to come in and learn essential skills from first aid to how to manage their money, as well as a place of worship, mosques often act as a hub for the community.

We thought we’d do a round-up of the various ways mosques in the UK are trying to spread a little love in their neighbourhoods:

• After learning that blood banks were particularly low at the start of the year, Glasgow Central Mosque in Scotland organised a blood drive where, not only worshippers but members of the public could pop in and donate a pint of blood. Promoting the event on their website, they quoted a verse from The Quran which read: “And whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of mankind.”

The same mosque also organized an event to raise awareness of the need for bone marrow donors and even broke national charity Antony Nolan’s record for the highest number of donor registrations in one hour!

• Khizra Mosque in Manchester runs a monthly food collection to support families in the area while the Faizan-e-Islam mosque, also in Manchester, hosts a Boxing Day curry night where they dish up food for homeless people and those living in poverty. Local politicians and representatives from the Police service also help with the effort.

• The Jamia Masjid Al-Medina mosque in Middlesbrough also teamed up with local businesses in December to host a three-course meal and hand out presents and warm clothes to the homeless.

• The Federation of Muslim Organisations in Leicestershire raised £20,000 in three weeks for a new scanner at Glenfield Hospital.

• Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association braved the British wind and rain to help clean up their town centre in Bolton on New Year’s Day. Members aged between just eight and 40-years-old helped Bolton Council officers collect up to 20 bags of rubbish. Speaking to local newspaper The Bolton News, the association’s leader said his members have enjoyed living in the area for decades and welcome opportunities to help the local community.

Muslims performing gestures of good will won’t come as a surprise to many people, says British Muslim Modussir Choudhury who lives in Manchester.

After all, he believes being charitable and caring about those around you is part and parcel of what it means to be Muslim.

“There’s always something going on at the mosque,” he says. “There’s a guy I know from the mosque, when he hears about families who don’t have enough money for food, he’ll arrange to get something together for them. We get WhatsApp messages through regularly and within hours they’ll raise hundreds of pounds. It’s not just Muslim families either, it’s anyone in the community.

“Mosques do try to be involved in the community. They arrange kid’s fun days and food banks (to collect food for people in need). At the end of Friday prayer they’ll mention people who need help and they organise workshops that aren’t just about Islam either – at the centre near me they’ve hosted workshops about dealing with debt and other issues that affect the wider community.

“Mosques really do work hard to support the community.”