Turning the other cheek

By | News & Politics
East London Mosque. Credit@diamondgeezer

The East London Mosque, located on Whitechapel Road, may have been a religious ground which has faced adversity since its first opening in 1941. Despite this, the community may have recently demonstrated an act of kindness by donating over ten tons of food to those in need in London this month in an effort to aid them in the winter months.

The history of the mosque may be permeated with change and adaptation, when after 34 years on Commercial Road, it was moved by necessity to Fieldgate Street in Whitechapel. After 10 years, a new purpose built mosque was built with a capacity for 2,500 worshippers. Following active campaigning for several years, the land opposite the mosque was acquired so the London Muslim Centre may be built, providing more services for the community and those around it.

In the present, over 15,000 people seem to fill the streets around the mosque every Friday in order to participate with the prayers lead by AbdurRahman Sudals, and the community may be becoming increasingly active with it’s native Tower Hamlets. Recently, the East London Mosque has been working with Muslim Aid and their efforts to feed those in need this winter and provide them with other amenities like heating, medicine and toiletries.

Collecting Food on Friday 18th Credit@MuslimAidviaTwitter

Collecting Food on Friday 18th. Credit@MuslimAidviaTwitter

On Friday, the mosque opened its doors to deliver their regular prayers, as well as to receive donations from the religious community and other local members. In one day, they had collected over ten tons of food for those facing Christmas on the streets, as well as other amenities and comforts to provide warmth and comfort throughout the winter

As well as striving for this cause, both the East London Mosque and Muslim Aid may assist communities outside of their own religion regularly, serving causes such as in an effort to bring positivity and aid to as many people and demographics as they are able to. For example, the mosque works with the Women’s Link, which aims to provide support and advice for women in many situations, aiming to create a service with a culturally sensitive environment. Additionally, the mosque has created the Faith in Health system, where individuals may access NHS services, with the aim of creating awareness within communities of the aid which may be on offer.

In addition to working within these London-based groups and the East London Mosque, Muslim Aid may also be endeavoring to extend their aid across the oceans, sending humanitarian assistance to displaced people in places such as Syria as a part of the Warm Hearts Winter Campaign, with which life-saving aid is sent to Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Iraq and Bosnia.

As time moves forwards, the East London Mosque seems to aim to continue in their efforts to promote equality and acceptance, stating its primary concern as serving the needs of the local community and working towards the common good, participating actively in local campaigns within the Tower Hamlets for causes such as education, the environment and community cohesion.

Whilst Christmas may be recognised as a Christian oriented celebration, the decision by the community to embrace it and assist those in need irrespective of their backgrounds may demonstrate the sort of behavior which societies across London, and indeed worldwide, may take example from. By opening their doors and hearts to those in need, the East London Mosque may have demonstrated the ways in which communities may pull together and see beyond their differences.

 How may communities come together in order to create significant aid for those in need?

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