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.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Solace this Ramadan

She is a revert, a mother and a victim of domestic abuse.  Separated now from the man who abused her and left her with a mountain of debt so big she was forced to go to work to repay it, who was there to support her?  The answer is Solace, an organisation specifically set up to support revert sisters in difficulty.  And this month, they have been working tirelessly on such cases.
I am pleased to announce that after only 2 days of campaigning on this sister’s behalf, the Muslim community had raised enough money to eradicate her debts completely.  She now continues to receive the counselling and support of Solace volunteers.
In another example, emails circulated in South London requesting volunteers for another single mother revert who was struggling to cope alone with her 4 children.  Solace put together a food rota, volunteers to come and play with her children and take them out to parks, do her food shopping and babysit her children while she could attend medical appointments.
A fantastic model that ought to be replicated nationally Solace, under the patronage of Sheikh Haitham Al Haddad, is always looking for volunteers and charitable donations.
For more information visit

Creating Terror

Are we really dealing with an epidemic of ‘homegrown terrorists’ or are terror plots ‘created’? This is a question on many people’s lips which has now been answered in a fascinating expose by the American ‘Mother Jones’ magazine.  The work, led by Trevor Aaronson, an investigative reporting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley describes the involvement of paid FBI informants in as many as half of American terror plots.  The article also claims that all except three of the high profile domestic terror plots of the last decade were FBI sting operations.   The informants are often illegal immigrants or criminals that the FBI can coerce into working against the Muslim community in return for protection from the law.  These individuals are incentivized with large sums of money to not only spy on the American Muslim community but in some cases honey trap individuals into planning acts of terror.  Informants have in some cases not only incited talk of violence but provided transportation, money and the means to commit deadly acts that were unlikely to have occurred otherwise.  Conversations are tapped and then relayed back to the FBI resulting in convictions. 
Whilst much of the financing of FBI investigations is said to play a preventative role in a post 9/11 world, it is argued that most of these cases would not otherwise have occurred and are simply FBI attempts to drive prosecution numbers upwards so it can be claimed that they are winning the ‘war on terror’.
For the full story visit or

Fasting Not Feasting

Fasting not feasting is a Ramadan campaign in advance of piety and against consumerism and gluttony.  As part of its ongoing community work, the group organise sporadic iftars for the homeless up and down the country.  The rules are simple – if you want to organise an Iftar, simply select a location, email the organisers and they will advertise the event and recruit volunteers through online social media.  This month has also seen events held in Birmingham, Manchester, Leicester and Cardiff.  So called ‘flashmob iftars’ have been reported in mainstream media including the BBC and The Guardian, providing the organisers with an opportunity to give Dawah about the broader community action that Islam inspires.
For more information on the campaign visit

Norway Survivor Converts

Just a fortnight ago, IERA, the Islamic Education and Research Academy travelled to Norway to attend the World Humanist Congress in Oslo.  Headed up by Hamza Tzortzis who was set to debate Dr Lars Gule, a leading Norwegian humanist, IERA made the trip in order to better educate the Norwegian public about Islam.
In a remarkable twist of fate following Anders Breivik’s right wing shooting spree last month, one of the Non-Muslim survivors from the Island made his way to the IERA dawah table.  Describing his story for the camera, he explained that he found himself praying to God as he hid fearfully from the bullets.  No sooner had he said Allahu Akbar, he felt at peace.  He took his Shahadah right there and then in front of the IERA brothers.
Ironic indeed that a right wing extremist who sought to eradicate the effects of Islam from Europe instead created the conditions for the opposite outcome completely.
‘They plot and plan, and Allah too plans; but the best of planners is Allah’ 8:30 –

Arabick Roots

Did you know that the Muslim world paved the way to the eradication of smallpox? Were you aware that scientists such as Boyle and Halley were heavily influenced by the work of Islamic scholars from the golden age?  Did you know that even the founding of the Royal Society itself, which has played host to scientists as influential as Newton, was inspired by the scientific method pioneered by Muslim scholars?
All this information and more can be found at the Royal Society’s ‘Arabick roots’ exhibition in London running until November this year.  The exhibition which is by prior appointment only, comes with a free colour guide book featuring a preface from Dr Salim Al-Hassani  from the award-winning 1001 Inventions exhibition previously held at the Science Museum.
‘Arabick roots’ is a wonderful acknowledgement of the long overdue debt of gratitude that Western Science owes the Islamic civilisation before it.  In the words of Dr Peter Collins, Director of the Royal Society Centre for the History of Science ‘No scientist works alone, and no scientist works without understanding and appreciating the work of those who have gone before…as Isaac Newton famously wrote ‘If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’’
Whilst much of the Media would have us believe that scientific development has always been hampered by Religion and that the only rational people on this planet are Atheists, this exhibition stands up and opposes this misconception.  The exhibition explains that the scientific method was actually pioneered by Muslim scientists including Ibn Al Haytham (Al Hazen) and Chemist Jabir Ibn Hayyan (Geber) who were some of the first people in history to consistently test out their theories with experimentation.  This concept was resurrected in 1660 with the founding of the Royal Society by British Scientists and preserved in its motto ‘Nullius in verba’ – meaning ‘take nobody’s word’.
Displaying remarkable critical thinking the exhibition quotes the words of Ibn Al-Haytham himself, an underacknowledged giant in scientific history ‘thus the duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and applying his mind to the core and margins of its content, attack it from every side.  He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency’
May Allah allow us to tread in the footsteps of our ancestors in re-establishing such a lofty Muslim scientific legacy – Amen.
For more information on booking times and the exhibition in general visit

Ramadan TV

It’s back and it’s even better this year.  Ramadan TV, a project of Mercy Mission, returns to Sky and internet broadcasting for the second year running especially for the month of Ramadan.  Packed with uplifting quality talks from knowledgeable Al Kauthar instructors and Q+A every night from 7.30pm it is both informative and a great alternative to less halal television viewing.
The website boasts segments for especially for women, family and Urdu speakers as well, so no-one misses out.  Unlike other Islamic television channels, Mercy Mission’s long term goal is all round entertainment and so in future years we hope to see halal reality TV and all sorts of interesting viewing for the youth insha Allah.
The channel which broadcasts live from Central London, with a view out onto bustling London Bridge can be accessed at or on Sky Channel 843.  So if you are looking for something better to give your children, or want a passive fix of knowledge do flick on or log on now.

My Neighbours

 “Angel Gabriel kept on enjoining the good treatment of neighbours to the extent that I thought that he would include neighbours as heirs.” (Narrated by Muslim)
My Neighbours Project, launched last month, is a response by the Islamic Forum of Europe to this hadith.  Making full use of colourful, trendy graphics, MNP was launched seeking to create community awareness and promote the rights and responsibilities we all have as neighbours.
Did you know for example that a Muslim neighbour has a responsibility to initiate greetings and congratulate their neighbour at times of happiness? Did you know that the neighbour has a right (not just a privilege) to be visited when they fall sick? Did you know that safeguarding a neighbour’s privacy and being mindful of minimising noise that disturbs them is part of Islam?
The project which was launched on Monday  18thJuly in East London, featured a national program of interfaith talks, community clean-up projects, tea parties, mosque open days and even a soup kitchen.  Its work featured on ITV news, which aired images of Muslims dligently cleaning up their local park and talking to the elderly.  It also gained column inches in local press.
Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine a Britain where Muslims exemplified this Sunnah. Communities would feel safer, happier and more cohesive.  Islamophobia could be utterly eradicated and best of all, Muslims would be creating their place in heaven.  Let us revive this Sunnah and become the faith group that restores community to Britain.
For more information on the project and how to be a good neighbour visit