BLACKBURN – A Muslim campaign in the central British town of Blackburn to collect donations for the needy during this Christmas season has been a great success after volunteers managed to collect tonnes of food.
“Volunteers worked tirelessly collecting donated items from mosques and community centers throughout Blackburn during the past fortnight,” Councilor Salim Sidat told Asian Image website on Monday, December 24.
“The donations mean that the most needy and deprived in our community will have a better Christmas this year.
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"This goes to show that communities working together can overcome many barriers."
Volunteers, supported by One Voice group, worked tirelessly over the past two weeks to collect food items for the city’s food bank to help feed needy Britons during the Christmas season.
More than 20,000 food items were dropped off at the Blackburn Food Bank Warehouse at St Barnabas Church, Johnston Street by volunteers.
Community workers have also managed to collect £1000.
Gathering at St Barnabas Church, volunteers were also supported by the mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, Cllr Zamir Khan, The Rt Revd John Goddard, Yusuf Seedat, head teacher of the Islamiyah School and Shannon Ledbetter from Blackburn Cathedral.
Collecting five tonnes of food items, volunteers say they were overwhelmed with the success of the campaign to gather funds and goods for the needy.
“The Muslim community recognized the need to support and help local people and families in the run-up to Christmas,” Mansoor Akhtar, Blackburn East Neighborhood Manager, said.
"This was part of a Your Call initiative during the time of year when the need is the greatest.”
Christmas is the main festival on the Christian calendar.
Its celebrations reach its peak at 12:00 PM on December 24 of every year.
The success of the donation campaign has encouraged Muslims to continue their efforts to remove boundaries in British society.
"We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of goods that the community provided in a very short period of time,” said Asif Mahmud of One Voice which supported the campaign.
"This is an interfaith initiative and it shows how members of all the communities can unite for the greater good."
Akhtar, the Manager of Blackburn East Neighborhood, agrees.
"The campaign also aimed to inspire and foster good neighborliness, viewing one another as one community, overcoming local issues by working together and taking ownership of local initiatives.”
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority, estimated at nearly 2.5 million.
A recent report by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex found that Muslims are the most likely of all groups to be identified with the concept of ‘Britishness.’
Last year, think tank Demo found that Muslims in the United Kingdom are more patriotic than the rest of population.
Responding to the statement “I am proud to be a British citizen”, 83% of Muslims said they are proud of being British.The percentage came higher than average across the population which scored only 79%.
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