Keighley Mosque Helping Those in Need During the Coronavirus Crisis01 May 2020
As the United Kingdom remains in the grip of the Coronavirus outbreak and the resulting lockdown, many vulnerable people, including those who are old, sick or disabled, are unable to go out to get the essentials they need. It the midst of this, Keighley Jamia Masjid in Lawkholme teamed up with the representatives of the local Christian, Hindu and Sikh communities to provide help and support for those in need. For Muslims involved the project is an opportunity to live by the values of the holy month of Ramadan under these most unusual circumstances.
The volunteers offer many important services
The project is run mainly by Strengthening Faith Institutions in collaboration with the Bradford branch of Age UK, who have partnered with local faith communities to provide assistance for those that need it during the pandemic as part of the Volunteering Interfaith Programme (VIP). The main goal of the programme is to offer assistance to those in need. These include well-being checks, friendly phone conversations, picking up shopping and prescriptions and providing food for those in need, including freshly-cooked Ramadan platters for the residents of the district.
“We are working every day with isolated, lonely older people who are frightened”
Mark Rounding, chief executive of the Bradford branch of Age UK, described the programme as vital. He explained that his organisation has been working with isolated, lonely older people who are frightened, worried and anxious about their day-to-day needs. At a time when many elderly individuals who are at most risk of the virus are not receiving the support they need, Rounding said that the programme has allowed Age UK to reach even more people in need.
In addition to supporting the vulnerable members of the community, the programme also aims to improve relations between different faith groups in the district.
For Ali Akbar Chishti, a trustee of Keighley Jamia Masjid, the programme was an opportunity to exemplify the ideals of the holy month and share their experiences with members of other faiths. One of the founding members of VIP, Javed Bashir, echoed these sentiments, saying that understanding between different cultures and faiths is important in this day and age and the programme was vital in opening lines of communication. He called on individuals, families, mosques and community centres to reach out to neighbours.
“It is a special time of the year for Muslims all across the world. It is during this month that Muslims not only abstain from food and drink, but also learn the importance of charity through fasting,” Chishti said.