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New report highlights British Muslim community’s “massive” charitable contribution

New report highlights British Muslim community’s “massive” charitable contribution

Categories: Latest News

Friday April 27 2018

A new report released by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims aims to highlight the numerous charitable initiatives being instigated by British Muslims and the significant contribution of the British Muslim population to the humanitarian sector.

The report, ‘Faith as the Fourth Emergency Service: British Muslim charitable contributions to the UK’, highlights the Muslim community’s response to the Grenfell tragedy, to the Manchester attack, to the sustained problem of homelessness as well as many other problems.

In response to the Grenfell tragedy, the ‘Grenfell Muslim Response Unit’ (GMRU) brought together 22 organisations and hundreds of volunteers to provide immediate support as well as long-term support. The report notes that “within forty-eight hours of the fire, the GMRU established emergency helplines” and helped with providing “shelter and food, financial resources, resettlement support, and funeral costs”. The group provided more than £140,000 in financial assistance, provided over 3,000 hot meals and organised almost 50 funerals.

In the aftermath of the Manchester attack, charities such as Big Iftar and Human Appeal, led the way in raising emergency funds, with one charity raising more than £25,000, and providing support to the victims.

In addressing homelessness, the report notes the important work of organisations such as the “National Zakat Foundation, Al-Mizan Trust, Muslim Aid, Penny Appeal” as well as others. The InTouch Foundation, dedicated to tackling homelessness, has delivered “200,000 meals and half a million drinks along with…sleeping bags and toiletries”.

The report was launched at the APPG’s event yesterday, on the 25th of April 2018, in Parliament.

Sir Stuart Etherington, the chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, at the launch spoke about the significant impact the British Muslim community is having on British society. He said that as there are “elements of the public with negative views of Islam” it is important that the charitable endeavours of the Muslim community should be highlighted.

He commended the GMRU as having a “massive, massive, massive impact” and added that whilst Muslims like to be “modest”, it is important they also be proud of their contribution and make sure people hear about it.

Mr Imran Madden, the UK director of Islamic Relief, spoke about how many Muslim charities are actively running projects domestically so that aid from the British Muslim community is being used locally as well as internationally.

Many MPs have welcomed the report as a testament to the Muslim community’s humanitarian activities.

Indeed, a poll by donation site JustGiving and polling agency ICM, British Muslims are the largest per capita donors of charity in the UK donating an incredible £371 each, more than all other faith and non-faith groups.

However, whilst we should recognise the brilliant work that has gone into developing the report and the incredible initiatives noted within, this should not serve as a justification for the place of British Muslims within the British community.

The report notes the poignant comment made by Dr Bilal Hassam from Penny Appeal who said: “Being Muslim and being British goes hand in hand…As more and more young people are becoming involved in charity work we are seeing more that they are one or more generations removed from “home”. This is their home, here is where they live their life. They are British. As Muslims, giving is an extension of their identity, and they give back to here, their home”.

As such, yes, it is true, British Muslims are noted for their charity. However, British Muslims are part of the fabric of the British society and contribute far more than just monetarily. Attempting to shed light on each method of contribution by a minority community so as to justify their place in society risks demeaning and alienating them rather than enabling them.

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said: “Your smile for your brother is a charity. Your removal of stones, thorns or bones from the paths of people is a charity. Your guidance of a person who is lost is a charity” (Bukhari).

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