Our community coming together

2019 neighbourhood Iftar in Islington

We all know that our residents make Islington such a great borough to live, work, or study. Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, many people have struggled, and the things we used to do to enjoy coming together as a community have been unable to happen.

As we approach Eid at-Fitr, which marks the ending of the month-long fasting of Ramadan, many in our community would be looking forward to Islington’s Neighbourhood Iftar outside Finsbury Park Mosque. The event, first initiated in 2017 to commemorate the terrorist attack outside Muslim Welfare House, invites the local community to breakfast together in a meal served outside the Mosque. The Iftar celebrates Islington’s diversity and our sense of community. Unfortunately, because of the restrictions in place it will not be possible to host the Iftar and bring our community together again this year.

We chatted with Mohammed Kozbar (Chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque) and Toufik Kacimi (CEO of Muslim Welfare House), who were involved in setting up the Iftar with a number of other community organisations about Ramadan, the work they have done for Islington over the last year, and their hopes for 2021.

As Mohammed Kozbar the Chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque noted, “Ramadan is the most important month for us. It’s a month of giving that shows how generous the community is, locally, nationally and internationally. It’s about respecting each other, kindness, building relationships with our wider community, and during this time our work with the community intensifies”.

This generosity and work with the community is something that we have seen in abundance throughout this last year.

Toufik Kacimi has told us about the work that Muslim Welfare House has undertaken this last year, which has seen them:

  • Donate over 200,000 disinfectant soaps, 145,000 face masks, 101,000 sanitisers to organisations that were unable to source them at the start of the crisis
  • Serve over 400 hot meals daily to residents facing financial difficulties
  • Delivered over 10,000 grocery deliveries to local residents
  • Work with street homeless people to support them to access shelter
  • Run online courses and telephone counselling for those struggling to deal with the impact of the pandemic.
  • Helped rehouse over 90 people experiencing homelessness
  • Helped over 30 young people into employment
  • And worked with four shelters for victims of domestic violence

Similarly, Finsbury Park Mosque has:

  • Distributed hundreds of hot meals to Whittington Hospital
  • Donated thousands of items of PPE to London hospitals and burial organisations, including over 145k masks, 200k disinfectant soaps, and 100k hand sanitisers
  • Setup a 24-hour helpline for people – delivering parcels, counselling, bereavement and advice for all
  • Delivered over 100k grocery delivers to local families
  • Re-housed 92 homeless people
  • Worked with Janati organisation to bringing fruits and sweets to be distributed to the local community during Ramadan
  • Helped deliver a pop-up Covid vaccination site, with over 700 people vaccinated in just a few days
  • Distributing over 400 hundred hot meals every day to those in need and the homeless community during Ramadan
  • Helped deliver four shelters for victims of domestic abuse

Both Toukif and Mohammed very much hope to be able to work with other mosques and local community groups including Somali Association of Britain, Islington Somali Community, Somali Welfare Centre, Islington Somali Community and the Al Risala Mosque to host a community Iftar in 2022, to celebrate all of our achievements.

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