27 June 2024 – The East London Mosque (ELM) marked World Refugee Day with a special Eid Al-Adha celebration for refugees yesterday. The event brought together refugees, volunteers, and Mosque officials, showcasing the community’s commitment to supporting those forced to flee their homes. The gathering highlighted the Mosque’s ongoing efforts to provide practical aid and spiritual comfort to refugees in East London.

The event, hosted by Sufia Alam, Head of Programmes at ELM, featured a range of activities and services for the refugee community. Stalls were set up to distribute gifts, essential items and Qurbani meat.

Junaid Ahmed, CEO of the Mosque, spoke of the Mosque’s continuing commitment to supporting refugees:

Since 2021, we have been honoured to open our doors and our hearts to the refugee community. This special Eid event is a celebration of our shared humanity and a testament to the strength we find when we come together as a community. It’s about providing essential support, yes, but more importantly, it's about fostering a sense of belonging and hope.

He also praised the wider community of Tower Hamlets for their support and assistance to refugees, emphasising the importance of coming together and sharing in our common humanity.

Shaykh Abdul Qayum, Head Imam of the East London Mosque, welcomed the audience with words of encouragement and offered religious and spiritual advice. He spoke poignantly about the challenges faced by refugees, drawing on Allah’s offering of solace and hope.

For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.

[Qur’an 94:5–6]

The Shaykh explained that reciting this famous verse allows Muslims to find comfort in times of hardship and tribulation. He went on to emphasise the Islamic duty to support those in need.

The celebration was part of ELM’s broader initiative to support refugees, which includes the Refugee Hub – a dedicated service that provides food packs, clothes, mobile phones, free haircuts, and emotional and spiritual support to those in need. In partnership with Islamic Relief, the Mosque also arranged for a talented chef to prepare special meals made with Qurbani meat for needy families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

The East London Mosque’s Eid celebration for refugees not only provided practical support but also fostered a sense of belonging and community for those who have faced unprecedented hardships. As World Refugee Day and Eid Al-Adha coincided closely this year, the event served as a powerful reminder of the ongoing need for compassion, support, and inclusion for refugees in our communities.