Mosques back first national appeal

UK mosques hope to raise £50,000 for BBC Children in Need's 2007 fundraiser, the first time that they have got together to raise money for a national charitable appeal.

Most of the UK’s 1,300 mosques, attended by about 300,000 people each week, will be raising money at Friday prayers this week for the appeal in a move aimed to engage Muslims with mainstream concerns and show that mosques are not terrorist cells.

Fuad Nahdi, senior fellow at Imam training institution the Muslim College, said the idea had come from the singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens.

“Muslims tend to be quite generous and donate three times what the average citizen does, but most of it is taken by the relief agencies doing work in the Muslim world,” said Hahdi. “But we are part of this society and there are a lot of Muslim children in need in this country.”

He said the organisers of the fundraising drive – including the Muslim Council of Britain, the Muslim Association of Britain and the British Muslim Forum – had sent instructions on how to organise the collections to as many mosques as possible.

“All of the big ones will do it, and that tends to trickle down,” he said.

He added that £15,000 had already been raised from collections and individual donations, and he hoped that the final total would top £50,000.

“We are very impressed by the response considering it has been so ad hoc this year,” Nahdi said. “We are intending to get involved with Children in Need every year from now on, as well as other national appeals.”

Yusuf Islam said: “God willing, this initiative will help Muslims expand their vision and role in Britain to care for the poor people of this country, particularly the very young.”

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