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.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Sisters Doing It for Themselves

Do Muslim women have a role in shaping our Ummah?  Are there issues affecting women in the Muslim community that we need to take more seriously?
Mercy Mission clearly think so and that is why on Saturday 16th July at a five star hotel in London, they organised the first ever Annual Sister’s conference, featuring a host of wonderful guests such as Lauren Booth (recent high profile convert to Islam), Naima B. Robert (editor of Sisters magazine), Fatima Barkatullah (journalist /lecturer for IERA) and Saiyyidah Zaidi (founder of Working Muslim).
Although somewhat sceptical at the notion of bathing in Oestrogen for a whole day and fearing this conference might yet be another exercise in rebutting Western stereotypes forced upon us, I was pleasantly surprised.
Sisters were articulate, passionate and reflective.  Talks ranged from Solace’s work in supporting New Muslims in difficulty, to attaining work-life balance and getting the most from Ramadan.  Lauren Booth’s keynote speech astonished us – as though this sister had converted many years ago it was informed, relevant and subtle.  Lauren reminded us of our roles as ambassadors of Islam and the Sunnah of smiling when we are out and about. She highlighted the need to support all converts, black and white, and the importance of women as active participants in all spheres, from motherhood to mosque events.
Sheikh Alaa El Syed entertained  and informed us on Ramadan before raising well over £75,000 in one sitting for a Mercy Mission refuge for homeless converts in India.
Yet the most exciting part seemed to come at the end, when the speakers sat for a brief panel discussion on what the role of the conference could represent to the future.  How can we facilitate each other in calling our husbands, sons and fathers closer to the Deen? Can we become confident educators of our children such that they owe as much to us as Imam Al-Bukhari did to his mother?  Are there real community issues, even if unpleasant that we can explore in next year’s forum?
This appeal to the community to engage themselves fully with the process I believe marks a new phase in British Islam.  Gone are the days of elders who close their mind to change, even if it brings us closer to the Sunnah.  If it is Qur’an and Sunnah, Mercy Mission are ready to go there.  Brothers, you had better up your game - the sisters want to race you to Jannah!

Urgent Crisis Somalia

Whilst the papers focus on the downfall of the Murdoch empire, there are much bigger crises unfolding in the Horn of Africa.  A major drought said to be the worst in 60 years is claiming the lives of innocent children every day.  How did this come about and how can you help save the lives of Muslim children?
The Horn of Africa is its East-most tip and includes the countries of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea.  Just a short stretch of sea away from Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab world, it is prone to drought by virtue of its geography.  In recent years this has been exacerbated by climate change, population growth and changes in agricultural practice.  Previous year’s droughts have led to the perishing of up to 67% of cattle due to starvation.  A lack of rain for 2 consecutive seasons has generated a humanitarian crisis with thousands of Somalians fleeing to neighbouring Ethiopia and refuge camps in Kenya.  The Infant mortality rate is 7 in 10,000 with many dying en route.  Refuge camps have been inundated beyond capacity and Measles is now spreading with risk of further infectious diseases.
UN humanitarian agencies have requested $1.6 billion to secure the crisis but have only reached half that amount.  Ummah Welfare Trust and DEC are both charities collecting for this crisis. Please give generously – lives depend upon it.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "If you love the poor and bring them near you. . .God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection." - Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1376

Stop Islamophobia Week

From 8-14th July MPAC celebrated ‘Stop Islamophobia week’.  The schedule was packed with demonstrations, vigils and talks up and down the country to raise awareness of this increasing problem.
The week began on Friday 8th July on which Muslims were encouraged to contact their MP en masse to ask specifically what was being done to stop Islamophobia.
On 14th July there was a vigil outside the Bosnian embassy in commemoration of the Srebenica massacre in which over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered exactly 16 years ago in 1995.
On Saturday 16th July MPAC organised a demonstration outside 10 Downing Street in honour of all of the Muslims who have been attacked on the streets of Britain and in Masjids.
To access further information and advice including MPAC’s list of 7 things you can do to stop Islamophobia visit