MANCHESTER, UK — It’s Sunday 23rd, June 2013 and the Manchester weather like always is unpredictable with some sunshine, some cloud, some wind and a possibility of rain. Amidst this The Blessed Hub helped organise and attend a local community open day which included a free variety of food, local artists performing poetry, comedy and music.
“The idea is to bring together the local community with all that we share in common. We want to see more interaction with Muslims and non-Muslims. I think as Muslims we must cater for everyone.” – said Shaukat Iqbal, host and organiser of the event at his home in Old Trafford.
The day began with locals coming in and talking with all the guests present whilst food was being served. After this, everyone was treated to performances by local talented poets, rappers, comedians and musicians. The event attracted many people of many backgrounds and ages. One of the younger participants said, “The food was wonderful, well better than chips!” and another more elderly attendee said, “It was really great being here today. I never knew there was such a place next door to us. It’s an amazing transformation and we are really grateful for the invitation.”
A couple who attended remarked, “We really enjoyed it here today and loved the performances. We will definitely try to come more often.”
Revd John Hughes of St John’s Church in Old Trafford was also in attendance on the day. He said that “It was a lovely example of hospitality, openness; generosity and really a good thing to do. I give my hat off to those of the house and those involved. It was good for the neighborhood and I’d like to see this taking place in different venues. This was based on Islamic principles, and it is a god example of Islam showing us the way.”
The Blessed Hub also holds community social gatherings at the house on a weekly basis, every Wednesday open to everyone. The gatherings are a unique opportunity to gather under an informal homely setting in order to engage with local people in discussion and networking. Above all, it provides an opportunity for local people to showcase their talents in poetry, rap, spoken word or even videography / cinematography.
“It was great to be here and see the community come in to share their company and views with us. In a time where Muslims or people from certain minority ethnic backgrounds are being negatively portrayed, organising events like these can go a long way to create a much needed community cohesion, integration and understanding. We hope to continue doing and seeing such gatherings.” – Mubashir, one of founders of The Blessed Hub.
Pete, one of the performing comedians on the day said “The event was great, everyone really enjoyed it including myself.”
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