There has been a furious reaction on social media to news that a mosque in Birmingham is holding a fundraising event this Sunday for the British army charity “Help for Heroes”.
The Association of Non-Stun Abattoirs (ANSA) and Lozells Central Mosque have confirmed the event will be held to support the Help for Heroes charity. Halal food will be sold to the local communities, with all donations going towards the treatment of British soldiers injured in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mosque Committee member, Mohammed Yaseen said: “We are holding the event to show our support for British troops. All the details of the event will be uploaded onto the mosque website.” Asked whether the mosque committee knew exactly what “Help for Heroes” is, he responded: “Of course we do, why else would we be holding the event”. Mr Yaseen was also asked whether the event was as a reaction to the Woolwich murder to which he said: “No comment.” He was then asked why a “Help for Heroes” fundraising event was never held before the Woolwich murder to which he refused to comment.
Event organizer and Communication Director of ANSA, Mohammed Saleem said: “It is important at this difficult time to convey full support of the armed forces. We are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with all sections of society to condemn this barbaric murder. It is testing times for all of us, let us ride out this storm sensibly and cohesively.”
The event is being supported by all three Lozells and East Handsworth Ward Councillors, Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Cllr Mahmood Hussain and Cllr Hendrina Quinnen. Cllr Waseem Zaffar said: “The event is the real face of the Muslim community in Birmingham, not the handful of extremists that try to divide our community. This attack on a member of the armed forces, one of thousands of brave men and women that protect our communities and the national security of our country, has caused great concern to people of all faiths and no faith.”
But not all Muslims of the local community have supported this initiative. There has been a massive uproar on social media in response to this event which has been described by many as “un-Islamic” “treachery to the Muslims of Afghanistan and Iraq” and an example of “ultra apologists and condemners”.
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On the 5 Pillarz Facebook page one reader said: “Controversial is an understatement. I’d say more like shameful. They may as well go into Iraq and Afghanistan, they damage themselves if they’re going to raise money for those who have ruined and terrorised Muslims.” Another said: “I think people are forgetting about holding onto the rope of Allah … how many of our sisters and brothers and our children have been raped, killed, beaten, tortured because of the illegal wars and occupation of Muslim countries?”
Meanwhile, local resident Imran Khan said: “We can all agree that the incident that occurred in Woolwich has no relation to Islam or Muslims and there is no reason whatsoever to condemn or condone such an act as a Muslim community. I’d like to remind my local mosque that this charity caters to support the wounded soldiers that have returned from on-going campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, Muslim countries that till today are still occupied.
“These are the same soldiers that have inflicted pain, grief and death on Muslim families during the campaigns and Lozells Central Mosque is suggesting as a Muslim community we should be supporting these individuals who have dishonored our women, orphaned our children and tortured our men?
“I strongly disagree with such an event to take place as it serves nobody, except the British government in furthering their interests in distancing the Muslims of Britain from its global ummah.”