This article was first published on the Liverpool Echo.
Merseyside football fan groups have teamed up with England’s first ever mosque to help Liverpool’s food banks.
The Abdullah Quilliam Mosque at Brougham Terrace on West Derby Road, Kensington , will become a food bank collection point for fans supporting food banks, after being approached for help by Everton Supporters’ Trust (EST) and Spirit of Shankly (SOS).
Committee members of the mosque’s trust said they were “delighted” to help and it was something that the mosque’s Liverpool-born founder, Abdullah Quilliam, would have been very proud of.
Mumin Khan, co-founder and CEO of the Abdullah Quilliam Society, said: “What is important about this mosque is that it started with charity. Abdullah Quilliam opened this mosque in 1899 and he started feeding the neighbourhood’s poor people.
“Because he loved the neighbourhood’s people this is why we wanted to join the food bank project because a fundamental feature of Islam is to love your neighbours and be kind, good and helpful to your neighbours, friends and people in need.
“One of the first things Abdullah Quilliam did when he opened this mosque was invite all the people around him – children and the destitute – and he fed them on Christmas Day.”
Galib Khan, founder and chairman of Abdullah Quilliam Society, said: “Abdullah Qulliam’s legacy goes on. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to work with the fans and football clubs to help the wider community. We’re delighted to help.
“And we know the worshippers will feel a sense of pride because they’ll feel part of it through involvement.
While the mosque will donate funds to the cause, the congregation will donate food which EST and SOS will collect and take to the food bank in north Liverpool.
Ian Byrne, SOS committee member, said: “The mosque will be a living and breathing, fan supporting food bank point of collection.
“The other important thing is is that we have integration. While helping needy people we’re trying to integrate the Muslim community with the wider Liverpool community so there is a social cohesion. It’s helping to eradicate the right-wing ‘Islamophobia’ rubbish that’s being spread in certain quarters.”
Dave Kelly, EST Disability and Equality Officer, added: “We deliberately set the food bank up to be an inclusive organisation and to not discriminate against anyone in any way. We want to harmonise the whole community irrespective of their politics, race or religion.”