Hafs Academy is proud to be committed to its outreach work for the purpose of community cohesion. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) strived for such causes his entire life, and among his teachings on this are the words:
“All creatures are the household of God; the most beloved of creation to God is the one who is most caring towards His household.”
Hafs Academy is not just an Islamic faith school but a spiritual, social, community and educational hub. At Hafs Academy we view engagement with the local and wider community as vitally important, regardless of race, religion or gender. Here are some of the outreach projects we have carried out so far:
Church Street Funfair
An Eid Street Fair in Church Street in the borough of City of Westminster. Over several thousands of people attended the Eid Street Fair on Sunday 17th July 2016. The event was organised by Hafs Academy in partnership with Paddington Development Trust and Vital Regeneration.
Imam and Paster Interfaith
Hafs Academy organised an interfaith event in partnership with Paddington Development Trust in the Church of St Mary Magdalene. This included the screening of much-acclaimed documentary The Imam and the Pastor on the rivalry between Nigeria’s Christian and Muslim communities and two men of different faiths who came together to bridge the conflict. This moving and hopeful story of grassroots peace building was a wonderful platform to bring together the local Christian and Muslim communities and facilitate conversation and sharing. The event was well-attended with even a contingent of Sixth Form students and was very uplifting for all present.
Helping the Victims of Flood
The winter of 2015/2016 saw extreme flooding in many parts of Yorkshire during which hundreds of people had to be evacuated from their homes. Hafs Academy was able to quickly fundraise several thousand pounds and visit some of the worst-affected areas with dozens of volunteers to distribute food and essential supplies and help in the clean-up process.
An Islamic Exhibition was held in the Urban Room, a community hub in the borough of City of Westminster, after the dreadful Paris attacks in 2015. This exhibition gave an insight into the Muslim faith and was aimed at countering the discourse of fear, hate and social discord spawned by acts of terrorism and extremism of every type. Primarily it was to provide a platform to make the true voice of Islam heard and to educate the wider community on how we can all live and interact together whatever our faith and culture. Several hundreds of people attended throughout the day of different backgrounds. Volunteers from the local community helped and supported the event in welcoming people, conducting guided tours, distributing books and flyers about mainstream Islam, as well as sharing food and drink. People were very grateful and felt at ease to ask questions in regards to Islam and extremism.
Hafs Academy is delighted to work in partnership with North Paddington Food Bank located in WECH on Harrow Road in the borough of City of Westminster. Everyday people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. In Westminster, an increasing number of people are experiencing difficulty in paying for their basic needs, leaving many struggling to afford food. This is a dire situation, especially if one is supporting a family. Hafs Academy regularly collects food donations from the Muslim community which is then distributed every Wednesday in WECH (Walterton & Elgin Community Homes) to the vulnerable people in our community.
We facilitate free weekly karate sessions for children from the age of 5 to 10. Pro-activeness is essential for all. These sessions are aimed to encourage children to stay fit & healthy.
Life Behind Bars
In recent years the number of Muslim prisoners has increased dramatically. Ministry of Justice figures shows a rise from 6,571 in 2004 to 12,255 a decade later, meaning that Muslims now account for almost 15 percent of all inmates, whereas the Muslim population in UK according to 2011 census is 4.5% of the total population. Hafs Academy acknowledges the importance of a three-pronged approach to address this dire situation:
Preventative: To try to stop people ending up behind bars in the first place. Religious and community organisations can and must play a role in this alongside local service via education, social support, and targeted programmes.
Rehabilitation: To engage and work with those already in the prison system and help these individuals make the transition to becoming law-abiding citizens.
Resettlement: To provide support outside of the prison walls to try and break their cycle of re-offending.
Hafs Academy organised a seminar to over 50 youths on ‘life behind bars’, where we invited an ex-prisoner and a member of staff from HMP Wormwood Scrubs. The ex-prisoner spoke in moving detail about the impact going to prison had on his life as well as his family, while the member of staff described the realities of prison life. This seminar was indeed an eye opener for the youth and was greatly appreciated by parents and the local authority.
An event to which we invited community leaders and influential people such as local councillors, police, policy makers and our MP, primarily to express our gratitude for their constant help and support, and to provide an insight into our outreach work.
Hafs Academy has been active in fundraising for a number of major international relief efforts following natural and manmade disasters. Through the support of our local community, we were able to help and support victims around the world irrespective of faith via reliable and trusted charities.
Hafs Academy believes it is important to work closely with local schools. Therefore, we arranged meetings with local primary and secondary schools to discuss working in partnerships. For example, have work with King Solomon Academy, ranked amongst the 10 best performing schools in UK, to discuss the avenues for both institutions to work together for the benefit of the children in our care. King Solomon Academy Management Team visited our site during operational hours and were very impressed with our services. Our Imam Kabir Uddin MBE was recently invited to deliver an assembly at the school.