Muslims and Christians team up to help homeless

muslims-and-christiansFaith groups are working together to care for street sleepers and other vulnerable people in the run-up to Christmas.

Muslim and Christian groups in Britain are joining forces to help the country’s homeless and other vulnerable groups during the Christmas period.

Organisations including Muslim Aid, the Al-Khair Foundation, Streetlytes, and churches across the English capital of London are expanding their efforts by providing meals and shelter packs to rough sleepers.

Their aim is to make sure those most in need are protected from cold weather and hunger during the holidays when many shops and services are closed or operating at reduced capacity.

More than 100 homeless people attended a Christmas dinner event organised by the groups at the Church of St Stephen and St Thomas in Shepherd’s Bush, west London.


READ MORE: UK families open doors to refugees


Alongside the seasonal staple of Turkey, volunteers dished out servings of South Asian dishes such as biryani.

“As Muslims, Islam teaches us that we can’t go to bed on a full stomach while our neighbour goes hungry,” said the Al-Khair Foundation’s Syed Hussain, as he managed a stall stacked with containers full of food.

“We’re working with people of all different backgrounds to show that Muslims care and we want to solve the problems facing everyone, not just our own.”

Streetlytes volunteer Chris Hatch, a Presbyterian priest, explained that while many of those working to help the homeless were religious, the project was not “inherently faith-based”.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA 

Christian woman gives £1000 to Muslim family after attack

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A Christian woman has donated £1000 to a Muslim family in the UK after learning that their shop was attacked.

Mohammed Riaz, 58, was attacked in Bradford in July 2016 by three people inside his butcher’s shop, Meat Hut. The three attackers – one of whom was later charged with robbery – damaged Riaz’s shop and left him with injuries on the eve of Eid celebrations.Following the attack however, one woman named ‘Jane’ posted a letter to the family enclosed with a cheque for £1,000.

In the letter the woman said: “Dear Mr Riaz, I was so sorry to read in The Telegraph & Argus of the attack on your shop. I am a Christian, and Jesus Christ taught that when we see someone in trouble we should not walk by without helping.

Kanees Riaz, Mohammed’s wife, says she was astonished by the letter, reports indy100:

“We were astonished – we were in tears because of this woman’s kindness – she doesn’t even live in the area. This shows that in the end race and religion doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all.”

Speaking of the trauma, Nafeesa Riaz, Mohammed’s daughter said, “We’re all still traumatised but the community and people from all over have shown huge support which has helped us immensely. We had people from all ages and ethnicities. We can never thank everyone enough for what they have done.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM PAKISTAN TODAY

‘Good Muslims’ or ‘Good citizens’: how Muslim women feel about integration

UK muslimsA great many things have been said about Muslims as UK citizens, mainly by non-Muslims. The prime minister, David Cameron, believes that if more Muslim women became proficient in English, for example, it would help beat extremism and terrorism. Meanwhile, Trevor Phillips, the former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, says that UK Muslims “See the world differently from the rest of us”.

Phillips also presented a controversial Channel 4 programme called What British Muslims Really Think, which put across the message that Muslims are more conservative than the majority population and don’t want to integrate into wider society.

The debate is often highly intemperate – and both Muslim and non-Muslim voices alike have suggested it contributes to further stigmatisation of an already marginalised and disadvantaged Muslim population. In this highly politicised climate, the relationship between Islam and citizenship has also come under scrutiny by Citizens UK, a charitable voluntary organisation with churches, mosques and unions among its members.

In July 2015, Citizens UK launched its Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life headed by conservative MP Dominic Greave. Greave somewhat unfortunately framed the Commission’s work as aiming to “help tackle extremism”.

The commission is holding a series of public hearings throughout the UK, asking Muslims to speak about barriers to their participation in society but also asking how “the Muslim community” can improve its participation. Although commendable for speaking with and soliciting views from Muslims around the country, there is also a problem with the approach chosen by Citizens UK, in that it only focuses on the Muslim population. In a febrile political atmosphere, it risks legitimising the isolation of Islamic faith and the prejudiced idea that Muslim citizens in Britain are uniquely problematic and a “one-voice” community.

FULL ARTICLE FROM UK ECONOTIMES 

Crime-fighting London Jews claim model for Muslim cooperation

afp-crime-fighting-london-jews-claim-model-for-muslim-cooperationLondon (AFP) – The unusual sight of crime-fighting Orthodox Jews pounding the streets of a tough London neighbourhood after dark has captured the attention of grateful locals, but their ongoing protection of local Muslims has seen their profile go global.

The work of the 25-strong “Shomrim” even caught the eye of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who praised the neighbourhood patrol group’s “remarkable courage”.

Members of the Haredi Jewish community in Stamford Hill formed the group — named after the Yiddish word for guards — in 2008 in response to high crime levels.

Police initially feared vigilantism but now cooperate closely with the volunteers, who helped in 197 arrests last year and even apprehending the area’s “most wanted burglar”.

It is Shomrim’s role in helping protect the area’s large Muslim population, however, that has secured its place in the community and garnered international praise.

The group was called upon by local councillors in Hackney, north London, following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby by Islamic extremists in the British capital in 2013.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA 

Interfaith dialogue requires us to embrace difference

_66643923_muslims_in_churchEarlier this month, a prayer service held by Muslims was conducted in a London church. This week, the local vicar apologised for the “great consternation” and for “any offence” caused. The event and its aftermath, however, goes far beyond the actual service itself, and shows how many people in the West view Muslims with suspicion.

The Anglican Church is today fortunate to have Justin Welby as its head as Archbishop of Canterbury. It was under his stewardship that a Muslim addressed the Church of England Synod late last year. Fuad Nahdi, a Kenyan-Briton, eloquently engaged in a discussion with Mr Welby on the suffering of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, noting that Muslims had suffered greatly at the hands of ISIL.

It is ironic that a few months later, as part of the response to Muslims praying in the Church of England building in London, others from within the church would respond with such vigour.

Indeed, Fr Martin Hislop of St Luke’s in Kingston said: “At a time when Christian men, women and children are being slaughtered in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Nigeria and elsewhere … it is a scandal and an offence that a clergyman of the Church of England should embrace an act of Islamic worship in a consecrated building.”

Fr Hislop is no doubt within his rights to reject the use of a Church of England building for any type of religious worship outside his own. Not all religious traditions will admit the validity of other faiths.

Nor will all traditions uphold the notion that tolerance necessarily means the holding of religious services within consecrated buildings of other religions.

Indeed, not all faiths have that notion of consecration at all. While Muslims might point to the Prophet Mohammed allowing Christians of Najran to carry out their religious rituals in his own mosque, not all have the same viewpoint – and it would be unlikely that Christians might do the same today. Indeed, while the United Arab Emirates encourages the construction of churches for its Christian residents, not all countries in the GCC do the same.

However, this episode in London goes far beyond notions of religious tolerance and interfaith cooperation.

Such relations do not require some kind of multi-faith unity. Indeed, some might argue that genuine interfaith relations requires the recognition that religions are unique and different.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NATIONAL 

Under fire, vicar who said ‘we love Allah’: Liberal clergyman attacked by traditional Anglicans for allowing full Muslim prayer service in his Church

26966D4F00000578-2992645-image-a-1_1426210910059A leading liberal clergyman has come under fire from traditionalist Anglicans after allowing a full Muslim prayer service in his church.

Reverend Giles Goddard, vicar of St John’s in Waterloo, central London, joined in the event by reading a passage from the Bible at the ‘Inclusive Mosque’ event.

He then asked the congregation to praise ‘the god that we love, Allah’, it was reported last night.

It is thought to be the first time an entire Islamic service has been held by the Church of England and has sparked criticism from evangelical clerics.

Orthodox clergyman said the event was against canon law, which prohibits any divergence from the official liturgy.

They argued that it could be ‘offensive’ to Christians who are persecuted for their faith.

Rev Goddard defended his decision to hold the event, describing it as a ‘very moving’ service. He said his intention was simply to offer people a ‘place to pray’.

He told the Christian Today website that everything his church did was legal and within bishops’ guidelines.

Mr Goddard said he was simply offering the Muslims a place to pray, adding that the religions share 'the same God' (pictured, St John's)

He added: ‘It is very much about St John’s being a place of welcome. We understand God as a generous God, a God who celebrates love and celebrates life.

‘We try and make sure we live that out. In that sense we feel very properly Anglican.’

The ‘Inclusive Jummah’ was held in partnership with the Inclusive Mosque Initiative.

It was organised to coincide with the run-up to International Women’s Day last weekend.

The service was arranged by Dr Amina Wadud, a campaigner for gender justice in Islam.

Rev Goddard said the service had not put off Christian churchgoers and his congregation is growing.

He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We are offering a place for people to pray so it made absolutely perfect sense. We should be offering [a place] to party, we are the Church of England.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY MAIL 

Christians and Muslims have co-existed peacefully before and must do so again

Mosque's minaret and cathedral's crossesToday I’ll be the first Muslim to address the General Synod of the Church of England. It is a blessing and an honour, and I am humbled by this historic opportunity. But the journey from Noor mosque in my native Mombasa, Kenya, to Church House has been a long and meandering one – full of trials and adventure, but ultimately worth it.

A couple of days ago, Humera, my wife of more than 25 years, asked what would make me consider my life a success. Recovering from a long bout of debilitating illness, I was trying to figure out what would be the best way to pursue the new lease of life that had been granted to me.

“If I can, somehow be involved in reconciling hearts and people. That would make me happy,” I replied.

Many moons spent in NHS wards, surrounded by diversity, suffering and death, not escaping to a zawiyah (monastery) retreat, made me spiritually mature and responsive. With plenty of time on my hands I embarked on a journey of rediscovering my faith and what it meant for our times.

Among the jewels I came across was a hadith (narration) of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, peace and blessings be upon him, which simply said: “Shall I not inform you of a better act than fasting, alms and prayers? Making peace between one another: enmity and malice tear up heavenly rewards by the roots.”

It is a message that all members of the synod would be familiar with, for it echoes Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE GUARDIAN (LONDON)