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June 22, 2018

The Big Aid Convoy: This Oxford Mosque Fed Syrian Refugees

In what’s being described as “an amazing display of generosity”, the Muslim community in Oxford banded together last week to supply Syrian refugees with much-needed food.

The Big Aid Convoy, an initiative delivered by charity Muslim Hands UK, collected thousands of bags of rice and flour over a nine-day period from the Central Oxford Mosque in Manzil Way.

After carrying out the campaign aimed at collecting donations from the Muslim community during Ramadan, the humanitarian charity then transported the food to refugee camps in Turkey. Not only that, but they managed to deliver it in time for the Eid celebrations which marked the end of Ramadan last week.

“I’m very proud of this community, of the worshippers,” Ahsan Amin, the imam at the mosque, said after hearing about how much the initiative managed to raise. “Supporting the needy is one of the five pillars of Islam.”

“We’re all fasting during Ramadan and when we fast we are showing consideration towards the needy – they are starving, they have nothing to eat, and we put ourselves in their shoes.

“But we still know at the end of the fast we are going to have food in front of us, it’s not the same for the refugees who are fleeing war-torn countries.”

"We still had members of the community coming with food donations and so we had two more vans that we managed to fill.”"

Ahsan Amin

Predicting that the amount of donations would be high (It is estimated that the British Muslim community donate around £100 million to charity every year during Ramadan) the charity supplied the mosque with a huge shipping container to store the donations.

However, it soon became apparent to the worshipers at the mosque – there is about 500 of them in total – that it was going to fill up too quickly. A new storage space had to be sourced after a few days, everybody really wanted to help the displaced Syrians.

“I’m very, very happy,” the imam exclaimed. “It’s amazing, it only took a few days to fill this massive container. We still had members of the community coming with food donations and so we had two more vans that we managed to fill.”

Now in its second year, The Big Aid Convoy transported a total of 25 shipping containers from the UK to Syrian refugee camps last week. What a great job; we truly salute everyone involved.

According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, an estimated 6.3 million people have fled the country and an estimated 13 million more are in serious need of help as the Syrian civil war is now in its seventh year. That goes some way to explaining why the work from the mosque in Oxford is so desperately needed.

One way you can help Syrian refugees is by donating to UK charities like Syria Relief – they have a team of humanitarian aid workers on the ground in Syria and neighbouring host countries.

Featured image credit: Syria Relief

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