For Immediate Release:
Help Britain get through this winter!
20th December 2013
London, UK – The Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) is calling on Muslims to do all they can to help Britain through the forthcoming winter which many commentators fear will be the worst in recent years. Every winter, the UK is almost brought to a standstill after snowfalls due to budget cuts which limit local councils ability to clear roads and deliver essential services up and down the county.
The hardest hit are the elderly and impaired. Statistics show a worrying combination of isolation and apathy towards them from the wider community with Age UK suggesting that 24,000 older people could die this winter in Britain from inadequate heating, food and companionship. Local Government Associations have resorted to asking delivery workers to keep an eye out for the vulnerable.
As Muslims, it is our moral duty to take leadership and help our communities especially those who can’t help themselves. We must not allow inadequate services this winter ruin the lives, sometimes fatally, of the elderly who have contributed so much to society.
Islam is a religion which enjoins concern for neighbours as a serious responsibility regardless of their creed. A Muslim should consistently show kindness and concern to all, beginning with those in close proximity to us.
The prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) instructed Muslims: “Whoever believes in Almighty God and the Last Day let him treat his neighbour well.” He further explained that “He is not a believer, he who eats to his fill, whilst his neighbour besides him goes hungry.” It has been widely reported that many of the elderly have to make the unenviable choice between food and heating.
In 2012, iERA ran a campaign encouraging Muslims to get involved in this initiative and led by example through clearing the snow from the streets of Cambridge. British Muslims rose to the challenge by braving the cold with shovels in hand to clear the snow and ice in their local areas.
Earlier this year, Muslims were seen carrying blankets and hot drinks around the streets of Birmingham. They looked for those stranded in their cars or elderly and lonely to give comfort or company. In Newcastle, the Islamic Diversity Centre (IDC) began a ‘snow patrol’ for the benefit of their community. Residents in Leicester also benefitted from their Muslim neighbours serving their community. The general public has lauded these efforts with Reading Councillor Rob Green declaring that the actions of the Berkshire Islamic Information Group were “an example to us all”.
These kind of activities are breaking down barriers and opening up the Muslim community for positive social engagement. Ms. Annie Ward-Pearson from Leicester wrote an evocative letter to the community of Masjid Umar mosque, thanking them:
“Along with most of Leicester, I was crawling home at a snail’s pace and was facing the long hill of Evington Road. What I saw in front of me was truly wonderful. There were many Muslim men, wrapped up and facing icy winds and freezing temperatures, stopping the traffic to guide cars out of side roads, to make sure the traffic flowed and pushing the more modern computerised cars up the hill. They were putting themselves in front of heavy vehicles that could have slid and crushed them – still they carried on. I chugged up the hill, but also saw your men pushing the less able and the whole event really opened both my eyes and my heart. It didn’t matter who was in these cars – black, white, any creed and any colour, all were assisted, without any prejudice. At 52, I have grown up with prejudice in my heart. My cousin was blown up in a market in Afghanistan, serving his Queen and country, so my prejudice was strengthened even further. A bit of snow and community spirit has changed my outlook on many things. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
iERA encourages Muslims across the UK to serve our communities this winter. As Muslims, we need to build strong relationships with our neighbours and communities at large.
Practical things you can do to help this winter:
* Support the Age UK ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign.
* Keep checking on your neighbours, particularly the elderly and vulnerable – offer to do their shopping for them if need be.
* Give out food (especially hot food) or invite your neighbours to your house.
* Come together and contact your local council for materials (snow shovels, grit) and help clear the snow if and when it arrives.
iERA is an international organisation committed to educating and informing humanity about, and inviting to, the truth and noble message of Islam.
For further enquiries please contact us.