Good News from the Muslim Community

Welcome to Fresh Air, a Muslim community bulletin that brings you the good news you never seem to hear in the media.

We welcome stories of positive community engagement, humanitarian and voluntary work, responsible reporting and well researched publications, documentaries and other pieces.

We want to inspire you to do more by hearing about others’ example whether they be Muslim or Non-Muslim. We also want to put a smile on your face when you read about people striving to make the world a better place.Finally we are committed to centralising communication within the Muslim community so that you know about the good work of both Muslim and Non-Muslim organisations and can support them spiritually and financially.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Brisbane flood Support

Mercy Mission Australia volunteers have released a video requesting financial, spiritual and physical support to their clean up work following Brisbane's recent flooding.
The video shows young muslim volunteers busily cooking food and packing supplies for those in need following the natural disaster recently.

Mercy Mission are still recruiting volunteers to help support destroyed communities
at the moment.

Sheikh Taufique Choudhury reminds the audience that the Muslims have a duty to help everyone
not just Muslims at times of distress.

See the full piece below:

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Success for iERA

It has now been confirmed that over 1000 emails of support for iERA were sent by the Muslim community to Hotel Ibis this past week. The emails were triggered by Pink News' unsubstantiated allegations, which called for Hotel Ibis to block iERA on the basis of alleged homophobia.

iERA has already issued a statement clarifying its position on the matter, that it stands against hatred and violence and invites the gay community to discourse on matters of spirituality. Hotel Ibis has remained objective throughout.

Congratulations to the Muslim community for responding so well and to Hotel Ibis for giving the Muslim community the same rights that a gay couple were given last week in court.

Compensation awarded to gay couple declined access at a private Hotel

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Avaaz: People Power over the Net

If you've ever felt frustrated that no-one really seems to stand up to international injustice then look no further than Avaaz.

Avaaz is a global web movement which empowers individuals to take action on a range of global issues from the environment to human rights abuses. Avaaz, which means voice in a number of languages, is an internet based international group that seek to change the world for the better through online petitioning, lobbying and direct action.

Using the power of the internet, it campaigns through local contacts in 14 languages towards goals set by its members.  As soon as an issue is chosen, Avaaz then channels public concerns into an organised campaign for change.

Past successes have included convincing the UK Foreign ministry to double the area of protected ocean in a giant conservation project, prevented the handing over of a large area of Amazon rainforest to agribusiness for exploitation and launching a big publicity campaign against torture in the US.

It is currently campaigning against the decimation of bee populations and is calling for full testing of pesticides believed to be causing this.

Visit to sign the petition which has so far gained over a million signatures.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Gay Community invited to dialogue with iERA

Following un-substantiated allegations by the Pink News about iERA's position on homosexuality, Hamza Tzortzis, senior researcher for iERA addressed an audience of over 700 including muslims and MPs at the iERA conference on Sunday.

Stating his position twice for clarity he explained that iERA stands firmly opposed to hatred and violence towards the Gay Community.  Instead he welcomes those who would define themselves as gay to open discussion with iERA, inviting all to a world defined by one's spirituality and not one's physicality.

iERA also issued a rapid press release in response to the article written by Peter Lloyd on 14th January which failed to give specific examples or quotations of the alleged.

Changing the World through Dawah - iERA conference 2011

On Sunday 16th January iERA, the Islamic Education and Research Academy, hosted its biggest Dawah conference yet attracting over 700 Muslims from organisations such as Mercy Mission, Islam Channel, FOSIS, Jumah magazine, Al Maghrib and Muslim Council of Britain. Members of Parliament were also in attendance.

With talks by Abdullah Hakim Quick, Hamza Tzortzis, Abdur Raheem Green and Sheikh Ala El Sayed on the sheer necessity of Dawah the event was high energy, at times emotional and insightful into iERA's work in society.

iERA is a convert led, research based Dawah organisation that seeks to educate the whole of society about Islam's true message - that of worshipping one God alone and believing that he sent a string of messengers from Adam through to Moses, Jesus to Mohammad to remind mankind of this central goal of life.

Amongst other projects, iERA also aims to support new converts with information packs and retreats and to conduct research into why people choose to convert and why some choose to leave again.  It seeks to raise the standard of educational publications, freshen the tone and style so as to be enjoyable to all audiences and engage with high profile secular speakers in debate fashion.

Sunday's conference was preceded by a high profile fundraising dinner at the Hilton Hotel London on Saturday 15th January.

If you are interested in giving dawah you can sign up to iERA's next training course on Saturday 22nd January following the link below

Harlesden - How Islam brought Safety to a region of Fear

With a reported 48 shootings in 2 years, Harlesden in London was a region of fear.  Based in the borough of Brent and rich with Caribbean, Irish and Brazilian heritage the waves of change were soon to arrive.

iERA, the Islamic Education and Research Academy yesterday showcased a video excerpt from their planned documentary on how Islam revolutionised Harlesden.

The story began with an informal conversation with the youth of Harlesden who noted a dramatic improvement in how safe they felt compared with a few years before.  On further investigation iERA began to realise that the youth were no longer on the streets, but that many had converted to Islam and were now usefully engaged in worship and self-improvement.

The video describes how it all began when a well known boxer in the area converted to Islam. This was soon followed by a number of other incidental gang members' conversions.  Two brothers in the video describe the unparallelled effect that Islam had upon their capacity to improve despite having tried other faiths out first.

Both describe their wonderment and joy at the worship of Allah alone and how Islam gave them an escape from a life without meaning to a life with clear purpose.

Friday, 14 January 2011

School success

If you've ever wondered whether petitioning works you have in Date Valley School, Morden an excellent example. Through the combined campaigning of the Muslim community in South West London and by the grace of Allah the council agreed this week to keep the school open despite serious closure threats.

Founded in 1999 and originally in New Malden, Date Valley is a pre-school and primary school that teaches its students family values, ethics and the national curriculum from an Islamic perspective. Originally on even smaller premises and founded through the will power of one strong muslim woman the school had been going from strength to strength until its rented premises were threatened with closure.

Parents and teachers led a campaign which resulted in 2500 signatures of objection. Parents also turned out in droves for the deciding council meeting on 13th January.

The good news is now being celebrated over London by parents and teachers alike and represents a real victory for the community. Indeed a proof that Allah will never change the condition of a people until they change themselves.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


Headed up by Khalid Sharif a young businessman from Essex, Ummah Foods has been selling halal chocolate products since 2004.  An inspirational model, Khalid pledges to put 10% of profits made into charitable donations which benefit the Muslim community.  Associations include Muslim Youth Helpline, Redbridge Youth Faith Forum and  As well as producing newspapers, Ummah foods backs environmental schemes, supports enterprise and is interested in issues around promoting and researching muslim women.

Previously an IT professional Khalid is reported as dreaming up the concept of halal chocolate as a career when he  realised it would be helpful to practising muslims to be able to authenticate ingredients.

For more information visit Ummah foods' website at:

Faith Matters

Faith Matters has this week released the findings of a study it conducted into converts to Islam. The report entitled 'A Minority within a Minority' whose release was sympathetically covered by both the BBC and The Independent debunks a number of misconceptions about converts to Islam.  Using data from online questionnaires, mosque telephone calls and Scottish Census information the report estimates new converts during 2010 might have reached as many as 100,000.  It also describes converts as being at ease with both Muslim and British identity and happy to live amongst non-Muslims.  
The widely held notion that people convert because of loved ones, rather than due to desire for the faith itself was rejected by the data.
Mosques also came under criticism by the report which found that converts did not receive resources they needed either before or after conversion, finding the internet, books and muslim friends much more helpful.
Finally the role of converts as a bridge between communities is proposed for the future.

Forming an alliance between those of different religions, Faith Matters website makes for an interesting read.  With pieces on supporting Muslim Chaplaincy and promoting interfaith harmony between Sikhs and Muslims its portfolio is impressive, however with reports on Prevent one should be mindful of the sensitivities of these issues and review all data with a critical mind.

Monday, 3 January 2011


The world of online blogging is alight with thought and yet sometimes it is hard to see the wood for the trees.  Which are the best blogs out there to follow? Thankfully the Brass Crescent Awards are there to direct us.  At you can access award-winning blogs representative of the whole spectrum of Muslim thought.  Categories range from Muslim to Muslimah, Middle Eastern to European and even include links to Non-Muslim bloggers who are working against Islamophobia and for dialogue with Muslims.  Just a few clicks away, the blogosphere awaits you...