Hundreds of young Muslims have been feeding the homeless on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) have also been litter picking and street cleaning in Cardiff, Battersea, Wandsworth, Guildford, Aldershot, Birmingham, Liverpool, Yorkshire and Glasgow.
Whilst many associate New Year’s with partying, and wake up late the next day, hundreds of Muslim youth hit the streets early on 1 January after morning prayers to make a clean start to the year.
AMYA educates its young members that loving and serving one’s nation is not only allowed in Islam, but a necessary part of being a Muslim. In our experience, the best way to instill this teaching into our members is by going out into local communities and helping wherever there is a need, irrespective of race, creed or gender. Street cleaning is a fantastic way to get people from different backgrounds to work together, literally working hand-in-hand. Of course, keeping our streets tidy is important, but no less so than the social divides that are broken down and the strengthening of community spirit resulting from such activities.
– Farhad Ahmad, British Imam
The organisation hopes to dispel negative stereotypes through positive efforts including community work and volunteering.
Despite increasing negative attitudes towards Islam and Muslims, our Ahmadi Muslim Youth are looking to wash away the many misunderstandings by bringing the UK’s rich communities closer together.
– Mirza Waqas Ahmad, The National President of AMYA
The Youth Leader for Cardiff, Kaleem Ahmed said that cleaning the streets of Cardiff gives the young people an opportunity to become better Muslims as cleanliness is an integral part of their faith. Mr Ahmed said “we are peace loving British Muslims and will continue to do all we can to serve our local community wherever there is a need.”
Over the winter break, AMYA Cardiff have organised a variety of charitable activities including blood donation sessions, charity collections, Children’s hospital and Nursing home visits.
In 2016 AMYA members have held over 5,200 community cleaning sessions, fed over 10,000 homeless people, planted 10,000 trees, donated blood sufficient to save over 12,900 lives, helped over 10,000 people following the Cumbrian floods, raised over a quarter of a million pounds for UK charities, and volunteered for over 140,000 hours.
These young and proud British Muslims and their tireless work has often been overshadowed in the media by stories about extremism, radicalisation and terrorism, which have nothing to do with them.
2017 will be an even bigger year for AMYA in terms of charity and community service. The very best way that we can combat negative stereotypes is by doing even more to serve this great nation and by raising our voices, even louder, against extremism and in support of the true, peaceful and pluralistic teachings of Islam.
– Farhad Ahmad, British Imam