London Mosque Offers Help and Hot Meals to Homeless

 London Mosque Offers Help and Hot Meals to Homeless

A mosque in London has opened its doors for the city's homeless, providing the invisible population with hot meals and psychological support once a week.


 

Around 20 people carrying bags and backpacks gathered in Finsbury Park Mosque in the British capital's north this Thursday, amid the presence of social workers available to listen to their worries and hopes.


Mohammad Ali, the deputy director of the Mosque, said that the project "is part of several inter-religious initiatives that aim to serve the communities around".


He told Al Jazeera's Mohammad Amin that the mosque hosts a number of activities that target both Muslims and non-Muslims, adding that "Muslims should have a role in social integration".


The mosque, located in London Borough of Islington, has been trying to emerge from the shadows of the controversies it had been embroiled in over the past years.


The mosque, which has become a focal point in the community for interfaith and peaceful worship over the past 10 years, was often overshadowed by its old links with extremist preacher Abu Hamza, who was sentenced to life in US prison.


The mosque is now the only one in the country to have received the charity commission-endorsed Visible Quality Award for its work in the community.


Last month, prominent British Muslim scholar has urged the UK authorities to remove Finsbury Park mosque from a confidential terrorism blacklist used by UK high street banks.


The mosque was branded as a “terrorism risk” on the confidential database used by 49 out of the world’s biggest 50 banks.


Shortly after HSBC's decision to close mosque accounts, the Finsbury Park mosque has received some 15 emails and letters which included hand drawn images depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a devil worshipper.


Following Paris attack earlier this year, the mosque came under a barrage of hate mails, death threats and offensive cartoons.


Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million.


In 2011, 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.


In it, the homeless are finding the social security they lack on the streets, Ishiya, a volunteer at the mosque, told Al Jazeera.


She said that the organisers are looking to provide better meals, and with more regularity once they have additional resources.


According to the UK government figure, there were almost 28,000 homeless applications recieved in 2015, of which about 13,500 households were accepted as homeless.


Each year about 185,000 adults in England report that they experienced homelessness, according to charity group Crisis UK.

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