Mosques open doors to homeless as temperatures plunge

29th Mar 2018
Mosques open doors to homeless as temperatures plunge

Elham Asaad Buaras

Several mosques opened their doors to the homeless earlier this month when the UK was battered by snow blizzards and Siberian temperatures.

On March 2 the Met Office issued a rare red alert for snow – the highest level of warning – for parts of southwest England and south Wales.

Leeds Grand Mosque, Oldham Mosque, Finsbury Park Mosque, Canterbury Mosque and Dublin’s Clonskeagh Mosque, which is part of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI), all opened their doors to the homeless.

Clonskeagh Mosque also offered two free food vouchers to use in the mosque’s restaurant.

Speaking ahead of Storm Emma also dubbed ‘the beast from the East’, head of community welfare at ICCI Summayah Kenna said, “We will have a security team on duty at night, and maintenance teams have been alerted to make sure there is sufficient heating in the building, especially late at night.”

Rabnawaz Akbar, a trustee of Makki Masjid in Manchester said, “The temperature is pretty severe, so we thought, ‘Why don’t we do something to help?’”

Volunteers camped out at the place of worship, providing food and shelter to Manchester’s homeless. The mosque also offered its shower facilities to those seeking a place to stay.

“Austerity measures over last eight years mean the support services that people need are not there anymore,” he said. “This results in people sleeping rough. The solution is not just about people having a roof over their heads. Some of these people have mental health issues, they are domestic violence victims, drug addicts or undocumented immigrants – they have no recourse to public funds.”

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