Children books, stationery, snacks to be eaten at the end of each day’s fast, a copy of the Holy Qur’an and a Ramadan cookbook.
They are all included in the gift boxes distributed by British mosques aimed at uniting non-Muslim foster carers with the Muslim kids they look after, Metro reports on May 20.
“More than 100 boxes have been handed out to Birmingham and Sandwell councils in the Midlands, for families living in those areas,” said Kamran Hussain, general manager at Green Lane Mosque and Community Centre in Birmingham.
The mosque has partnered with ‘MyFosterFamily’, an organization aimed at helping to raise awareness in the British Muslim community about foster care.
Ramadan is the holy month of fasting when Muslims are required to avoid all food and drink between sunrise and sunset. Moreover, they’re also encouraged to increase their charitable efforts and doing good deeds.
“One of the intentions for these boxes is to raise awareness and connect non-Muslim carers and the children in their care to local mosques to support any faith needs. Our mosque hopes to spread awareness of fostering within the British Muslim community,” Hussain explained.
He continued informing: “As a community, Muslims make up a very low proportion of foster carers. It’s not something that’s considered by many. This organization has therefore been developed to create more understanding around fostering and to essentially encourage Muslim families to foster children.”
Birmingham is the 2nd most populous city in Britain and the wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the 2nd largest in the country with a population of over 4.3 million.
By 1791 Birmingham was being hailed as ‘the first industrial manufacturing town in the world’. The city’s distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practicing a wide variety of specialized and highly skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation and provided an economic base for prosperity that was to last into the final quarter of the 20th century.
Muslims in Birmingham
In the 2011 Census, 21.8% of the Birmingham population identified themselves as Muslim. This is significantly higher than the average for England and Wales at 4.8%. The Muslim community in Birmingham is considered one of the most diverse with a wide spectrum of people originally from Africa, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Asia, and other Asian countries.
Although the earliest Muslims to arrive in Birmingham and England generally are said to have been from Yemen and Bangladesh, it’s the Kashmiri community from Mirpur in Pakistan who form the largest group of migrated Muslims.
The majority of the Muslims in Birmingham continue to be born abroad as more and more migrants arrive into the city although the number of British-born Muslims and those who convert to the faith are said to be near 50% of the total Muslim population.
The city has a Shari’ah Council run by the Birmingham Mosque Trust. The first mosque in Birmingham was a house in Balsall Heath but later a grand project was undertaken by Muslims with the development of the Birmingham Central Mosque in Belgrave Middleway, Highgate, which was conceived in the 1960s and then opened in 1975 to great acclaim as the largest mosque in Western Europe.
There are currently just over 200 mosques in the city, including purpose-built places of worship, converted warehouses, Churches and cinemas as well as former homes, schools, and centers.
Birmingham is home to numerous Islamic schools and has many Muslim bookstores and libraries, including the exhibition centers of the Islamic Propagation Centre International (IPCI), one of the country’s longest-running Islamic da’wah (proselytization) organizations.