Friday, 3 August 2012

"Bring a Tin" collections at Notts Masajid

Historically, masajid in the UK have not been very active at campaigning and working for social justice in their localities, which is a shame as this represents a missed opportunity to put into practice the principle of Islam as being a “mercy for mankind”.

Recent years, however, have seen something of a change in attitudes, and the emergence of projects that genuinely aim to benefit the wider society. This is important because working in a practical way to help the local community has the following benefits:

i) Fulfills the Islamic duty to look after ones neighbours.

ii) Combats the accusation that Muslims only care for their own and will not lift a finger to help non-Muslims.

iii) Generates goodwill with the wider society and provides a point of contact as well as building connections for future work.

iv) Is an example to the Muslim community of practical work that can be done in the locality to help the wider society

v) Combats the work (and loud voices) of those in the Muslim community who want to eliminate contact with the wider society

vi) Provides an opportunity to give young adult Muslim volunteers practical experience of making things happen.

One area in which masajid and community centres can do something practical to help the most vulnerable - of whatever faith - in their locality is to support local foodbanks who are helping those in dire economic. You can read about the Foodbanks operating in Nottingham, and some testimonies from the people who are helped by them, here.

Results from events so far
A number of "Bring A Tin" events have been held at Nottingham Masajid, with interesting results that can be found here.
Disappointingly, two masjids said they didn't want to hold a "Bring a Tin" event. You can read more about this here.

Donations from the Aug 2012 event Masjid Noor

Tips on organising a "Bring A Tin" event
It's dead simple:

i) Talk to your local Mosque / Community Centre to get their agreement in principle

ii) Pick a day (or even an entire weekend) for the event.

iii) Get Imam to make an announcent at a suitable salat time a couple of days before and a day before the event. Incidentally, BFTF's experience is usually that no matter what the Imam says, no announcement will be made unless you are physically there at the time and either make the announcement yourself or give the Imam some text to read out. A suggested text is shown below :

"Islam teaches us to take care of the needy in our locality - and in these tough economic times there are many people in Nottingham who are struggling to even buy food. One way we can fulfill out duty in this regard is to support local Foodbanks who are helping those in need. This will also combat the accusation that Muslims only look after their own and do not care for others So what we would like you to do is each "Bring A Tin" of non-perishable tinned or packet food (e.g rice, pasta, flour, tinned tomatoes, fruit, baked beans, chick peas, oil, tea bags) to the Masjid on [dates] - this food will be given to local foodbanks. Let us make the Muslim community one that is know as the most generous when it comes to helping those in need in Nottingham"
iv) On the day it is important to give people some guidance on where to drop off their food. Perhaps a bic box (with a few cans to get things started) and some signs. The best option is to actually be at the masjid at prayer times and stand by a collection point, explaining the project to any who ask and collecting food from those who bring it is.

v) Contact Himmah (via Sajid 07786 333929 or Farzana 07590258902) who will come and get the collected food.

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