SOS uniting the community

Organisers at England’s oldest mosque have teamed up with Spirit of Shankly (SOS) and Everton Supporters’ Trust (EST) to pledge to help eradicate food poverty in Liverpool. The Abdullah Quilliam Mosque on West Derby Road has launched a foodbank collection point to boost the grassroots initiative, Fans supporting Foodbanks.

The mosque was established by Liverpool-born Abdullah Quilliam in 1899, and cleric Adam Kelwick says helping fans in their goal to combat hunger is a cause their founder would have supported.

“Abdullah Quilliam’s mission was about serving people. He was about lowering himself and encouraging followers to lower themselves to be a source of service and help to everybody in society.

“For that reason he was loved by everyone in Liverpool, not just his Muslim community. He didn’t just serve Muslims, he made sure everybody was treated equally. If we’re not brothers and sisters in Islam then we are brothers and sisters in humanity. Our community is lucky to have this blueprint from Abdullah Quilliam from over 120 years ago.”

The mosque has made a first donation and all of the city’s other mosque’s will back the cause. Mumin Khan, Abdullah Quilliam Society’s CEO, said: “We’ll team up [with the city’s other mosques] as one and have one big foodbank collection. It’s a great pleasure to be involved. It’s about showing brotherhood and fraternity. Together we’ll beat food poverty in the city.”

Ian Byrne, from SOS, said: “We wanted to bring in the Muslim community. At a time when certain quarters are trying to create an atmosphere of hate, what we say is ‘hunger doesn’t wear club colours, hunger doesn’t have a religion, hunger doesn’t care at all.’

“We have nothing but good words for the Abdullah Mosque. We’re proud in what we have achieved here. Let’s hope we can build something big and positive.”

Robert Daniels, from EST, added: “Worshippers have donated a van load of food and that will go a long way. The mosque has been brilliant.”

Liverpool City Council also back the initiative and Everton ward Councillor Jane Corbett said: “There is massive poverty in Liverpool, families out of work are in poverty and families in work are in poverty. Thank you to the grassroots who have helped put this together. It’s brilliant that people of faith are helping.”

North Liverpool Foodbank manager Vicky Ponsonby also thanked the worshippers along with 170 volunteers that “make the foodbank happen.”