We have heard so much that is negative about Islam and about individual Muslims from Britain First’s propaganda machine that it’s easy to forget the real people behind the slander. Muslims, just like the members of every other human group vary. Some are nice and some are nasty. Some are criminal and some abide by the law. Some are extremists (like their Biffer counterparts) and some are exceptional in their kindness and in their humanity.
We recently learned about the Suffa project, a Muslim led organisation intended to help homeless people (‘Suffa’ is the Arabic word for ‘Shelter’). The inspiration for the project comes from the Islamic instruction to provide food for the hungry and shelter for the destitute.
In Suffa’s own words…
“Our intention is to seek the pleasure of Allah by acting upon the numerous teachings of the Qur’aan and sayings of His Messenger (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) that exhort the feeding of the poor and welfare of the destitute.”
The idea began in Birmingham during the month of Ramadan, the period of fasting in which Muslims are called upon to fast during daylight hours and use the money saved to help others. A group of Muslims began simply by walking around the W. Midlands city providing cups of tea, biscuits and some non-judgemental interaction to the rough-sleepers they encountered. That was in 2011. Since then Suffa has developed into a year-round project and it’s spreading to other British towns as well.
With bases in Birmingham, Walsall, Sheffield, Leicester, Coventry and Bolton the organisation provides thousands of meals to hungry, homeless people and it has plans to develop even further, eventually aiming to provide both financial assistance and training to help people get back on their feet again.