Press Release: GLMCC Covid-19 Community SupportAssima Alam
19th April 2020
GLMCC Covid-19 Community Support
The past few weeks have been extremely sad and difficult for us, with many of our brothers and sisters passing away. To God we belong and to Him we return. We pray that Allah (God) grants them all Jannah (Paradise) and gives their families and loved ones patience.
Following guidance from the UK government, Public Health officials and medical professionals, Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre (GLMCC) was one of the first masjids to suspend all congregational services and activities. The situation continues to worsen with figures now showing the number of UK deaths having increased from 55 to almost 13,000 in the short period the masjid has been closed (16th Mar 2020 to 17th April 2020).
The closure of the masjid continues to be a cause of anguish for many of us, particularly our elders, for whom the masjid is an integral part of their daily worship and life. However, through adversity, Allah (God) grants us the opportunity to increase our good actions and continue to be in the service of others. It’s reassuring to see how our staff, volunteers and community have stepped up to help support the fight against the coronavirus, in so many ways:
- Our Funeral Service partnered up with Central Mosque Funeral Service. The team have robust processes to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers, whilst still providing the utmost care for our deceased and their families. Over the past two weeks alone, the team have facilitated 50 funerals.
- Launch of an essential COVID-19 food delivery service for the vulnerable and those self-isolating.
- The GLMCC foodbank is now open all week and is an essential service to many living in poverty.
- Launch of an NHS PPE campaign with Loft25, mobilising over 400 volunteers for the production of PPE.
- Working with over 30 mosques to agree on joint statements tackling issues pertinent to the community, such as cremation and burials.
- Speaking with the Public Health Authorities to get clear messages out to the community. After our first meeting, we took the unprecedented step of closing the mosque, with many mosques following our lead. We now recognise the importance of taking such a drastic step.
- Set up a new listening helpline called Hear4U, for those who require emotional support while isolated at home. This is run by some of our existing counsellors and a local GP.
With everyone’s combined efforts, we’re showing the true spirit of community, Muslims and Islam. Through the media, we have also been promoting all of this great work to help tackle the false narratives surrounding Muslims. Alhamdulillah (all praise be to God).
Although many of our usual activities have ceased, our staff and volunteers have been busy realigning their respective services and activities in this ‘new norm’. We can see the great efforts that everyone is making to get things working:
- Our madrasah has now moved online with over 430 kids and is now accessible to more children.
- Our 40 weekly education classes have moved from the physical classroom to virtual online classes.
- We delivered our first online weekend course over the last bank holiday weekend.
- A Ramadan online conference is scheduled for this weekend.
- All our Islamic/dawah talks have moved online and we are now doing more than ever before, with many international speakers offering their time and support.
- We have already scheduled hours of online talks for each day of Ramadan, to help people with their learning and worship over the holy month.
But we’re not in the clear yet. We still need to adhere to the messages from those in authority to stay home and stay safe, God willing. As Muslims, we have a responsibility to protect people from harm and although this simple action may not seem like much, it could save lives.
“If anyone saves a life it would be as if he saved the lives of all mankind.” Al Qur’an 5:32
It’s quite evident now that Ramadan is going to be quite different this year. We’ve also been working with the Public Health department to ensure that there is clear messaging around gatherings and activities in Ramadan so that we don’t further spike the spread of the virus.
In anticipation of this, we had already taken the sad decision to cancel our annual Celebrate Eid event, where we were expecting our usual outturn of over 60,000 people.
Furthermore, we have been assessing the future financial impact to GLMCC. With the closure of the centre, we have no donations from Friday prayers, daily taraweeh and the masjid donation boxes. We are reaching out to our community and hope that they recognise all the hard work that emanates from the masjid and continue to support us online. Alhamdulillah, I’m glad to say that many supporters have already come forward.
It’s inevitable that we need to get more innovative and resourceful to still serve and remain impactful over the next few months. I pray that Allah allows us to benefit from these difficult times and benefit others, and come out stronger once it’s all over, God willing.
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” [Al Quran:155]
We kindly advise you all to utilise this time to get closer to Allah (the Almighty) by increasing in your worship, and we pray that He protects us all, forgives our deceased and gives their families patience.
And finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our dedicated NHS staff and key-workers, and all those working on the frontline who are risking their lives on a daily basis. We pray that God guides them and us all through these difficult times.
Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre is a leading UK mosque situated in the heart of Birmingham serving the community since 1979. Operating from its award-winning grade II listed Victorian building, GLMCC fulfills its mission of inspiring, educating and serving through its educational college, outreach work, welfare services, international humanitarian wing, as well as its fully functional mosque which is attended by thousands every week.
For more information about or work and services visit: www.greenlanemasjid.org
DETAILED BACKGROUND TO GLMCC
Green Lane Masjid & Community Centre (GLMCC) is a leading UK mosque based in the heart of Birmingham. Having acquired the premises in 1979, the trustees and committee members have been evolving the mosque and it’s building over the decades to create a mosque that acts as a hub for the local community, consisting of prayer halls for men and women, a community hall, evening school for children, educational institute, library and some accommodation. It also provides a funeral service to the local Muslim community.
GLMCC occupies a prominent corner position on Green Lane in Small Heath. The building was originally constructed as a public library and baths, designed by local architects Martin & Chamberlain and built in the redbrick and terracotta Gothic-Jacobean style between 1893 and 1902. It is a Grade II listed building.
Recognised internationally, GLMCC has circa 750,000 followers on Facebook. It is also the 2019 British Muslim Awards winner for Mosque of the Year as well as the Beacon Award winner for ‘Best Run Mosque 2019’.
A brief summary of some of the main activities and services operated from the centre:
- Hundreds of people attending the five daily prayers from the mosque
- Thousands attending Friday congregational sermon and prayer
- Thousands attending congregational prayers, every night of Ramadan
- Over 250 people fed each day over Ramadan
- An imam Q&A run four times a week
- Adults education holding over 50 classes per week
- A weekly children’s evening school run 4 days a week with over 400 children registered
- A monthly kids Budding Believers club, a weekend school with over 100 children
- A kids summer school, attended by over 200 children
- Annual conferences with renowned International speakers, attended by thousands
- Weekly Islamic talks attended by hundreds and streamed online to thousands
- Weekend courses attended by hundreds
- Regular school visits to the mosque
- Annual community days and exhibitions
- Interfaith work
- An Annual ‘Winter Freeze’ project, housing tens of homeless for many months over the cold season
- Counselling services run by qualified counsellors, including a GP
- A funeral service managing over 40 funerals and burials a year
- A Foodbank that has supported over 3,000 families over the years
- A charitable hardship fund (zakat/charity) service that distributes circa £60k to UK people and families in need
- Ladies coffee mornings held every Thursday, attended by around 60 women each week, providing a much needed social activity for many womeny, particularly those on their own or single mothers.
- A monthly elderly social and lunch
- A weekly food/soup kitchen, funded by Greggs
- A community Streetwatch initiative with the WMP
- A free weekly legal surgery in partnership with Aman solicitors
- A free immigration advice surgery run with the Home Office
- A cancer support group in partnership with Macmillans
- An education advice support clinic for parents
- A job club
- GLMCC runs the bi-annual Celebrate Eid event in Small Heath, Birmingham. This is the largest outdoor Eid event in Europe with 60k to 80k people attending. Arranged twice a year, this is a fantastic and fun community event for all, with a fairground, food stalls and much more. The event is run in partnership and supported by many organisations, including Islamic Relief, the Birmingham Hippodrome, Unity FM and other mosques.
International Humanitarian Wing:
- Task Force Green Lane Masjid, is the GLMCC international humanitarian wing and has raised over £7m over the past 6 years for needy causes overseas, with over £2m raised in 2019.
- From supporting the recent humanitarian crisis in Yemen to providing homes and essential support to Syrian refugees and orphans fleeing conflict zones, the taskforce provides a lifeline of support to those in severe conditions.
- The team supports and has helped various NGO’s including Islamic Relief in establishing key projects around the world.
- We currently provide ongoing support for an orphanage built and established in Lebanon, where Syrian widows were paired with lost orphans to form families that were then housed in the orphanage. A purpose built building was constructed to provide apartments for them to live and the organisation covers the annual living costs for these newly formed families.
Annual Social Campaigns:
- The mosque runs several social campaigns, addressing different issue that are pertinent to the community. In 2019, an anti-knife crime campaign and environmental campaign were launched, receiving much recognition and traction with the community.
Other Major Activities:
- The GLM football club, in association with the FA, holds 3 sessions per week for adults and children
- Weekly Kick-boxing classes for kids and adults
- A weekly women’s basketball session
- Kids cricket coaching sessions run in association with the English Cricket Board
There are many more activities run by the organisation, making the centre an active hub for the community.
Some Background Articles relating to GLMCC: