CAIRO – Offering a helping hand to the less-fortunate, a Muslim group in Aberdeen in east Scotland has helped soften the blow of the freezing temperatures by funding 1,000 meals which were handed out to the city’s homeless.
“This has been a fantastic initiative for everyone. We were surprised by the diversity of the contributions, it allowed people of all faiths or background to do their bit for the homeless in Aberdeen,” Sumon Hoque, who founded the group, told The Press and Journal on Wednesday, January 6.
“When we look at the harsh weather conditions in the north-east of Scotland just now, it gives you an idea of the hardship homeless people must be going through.”
The 1000 meals were supplied to the needy after the group succeeded in raising a £5,000 which it donated to local homeless charity, Aberdeen Cyrenians.
The funds were raised through a variety of means, including food sales, bucketing at local mosques, and donations from local businesses, including Splash Autocare on North Anderson Drive.
“Being charitable is our duty as Muslims and it is a great way of combating the rise of Islamophobia,” Hoque added.
“By using social activities, like the winter appeal, we can show that Muslims are not an insular community, but part of the solution of a more harmonious society.
“We as Muslims in Aberdeen need to be confident in expressing our Islam and Scottish identity in a clear and compassionate way to remove the many misconceptions that exist around us as a community.”
The Muslim donation was praised by Aberdeen Cyrenians which has been facing funding challenges recently.
“We have worked with the local Muslim community in the past, but this is the first time we have officially partnered up and we were ecstatic with the response,” Scott Baxter, deputy chief executive of the charity, said.
“We have benefited by being able to provide over 1,000 extra meals to our service users. Aberdeen Cyrenians are going through turbulent times with nearly 50% of our funding cut and we see this as the start of an ongoing relationship with the Muslim community.”
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million.
In July 2013, a survey by JustGiving charity website has found that Muslims top charity givers in the UK, compared with other faiths.