MANCHESTER – Manzoor Ali, the Muslim owner of Barakah Foods in Manchester, is planning a kindness day at his cafe on Tuesday, in response to the Islamophobic ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ campaign which has spread across the UK.
“We’ll be there all day with tea and biscuits and cake. People are free to come and go and have a chat if they want. We want to spread a message of love,” the 44-year-old businessman offered according to Scots Man.
The letters, which encourage violence against Muslims, started to circulate on social media on March 9.
Police were called after some letters were posted through doors of properties across London, Cardiff, the Midlands, and Yorkshire.
Ali believes peace is the best way to counter hate.
“It’s disgusting that people want to spread this hate. Even if they’re joking, people latch on to it. The person behind this has lit a match and those sharing it are throwing fuel on the fire,” he said.
“We want it as a Banish Hate Day,” he seeks.
The Muslim owner also thinks that while ‘Love a Muslim Day’ fliers aimed at countering the fanaticism, he thinks singling out segments of society is unnecessary.
“I don’t want to be seen as just a Muslim,” he explained.
“We’re lucky to have a strong and supportive community here. I’m just a neighbor like anyone else – and so are my friends and family and colleagues.”
Following Islamic teachings of peace and solidarity, Ali and his wife Aiysha are also running an eponymous food aid initiative to deliver groceries and toiletries to needy people in Manchester.
Barakah Food Aid is maintained on donations and puts together food parcels which are delivered to the poor.
According to the 2011 census of UK, Manchester had 79,496 Muslims forming 15.8% of its population.