Category: Philanthropy

#AsBritishAs A Cup of Tea!

If you missed this one, where on earth have you been?! I’ve been blown away at the response to our most ambitious campaign to date and I wanted to share a few thoughts on this record-breaking moment of our charity’s history.

It’s really a beautiful reflection of British Muslims that wherever you go in this country, to communities rich or poor, you will find sisters and brothers with open hearts, ever-ready to pour out their hard-earned money for those in need. I could tell you story upon story of donors who have left me speechless in the face of their astounding level of generosity and just as you can count on Muslims to be generous beyond measure, you can count on them to be even more humble about it!

Humility is a beautiful character in our faith, in fact the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, described it as the very hallmark of Islam. What this means is so much of our giving goes under reported and I think for the most part this beautifully reflects on the nature of our Muslim communities; day in, day out; giving, serving, building and bridging hearts and minds. At least in this regard, we are people who walk the walk but we must also be people who can talk the talk too.

One of my friends joked to me once that the secret to good PR is ‘PYAR’ (that’s the urdu/hindi word for love!) ‘Love the message that you have,’ he passionately went onto say, ‘and love for the people to know what it is you have to say.’ Muslim organisations have, right at their fingertips, enough feel good, positive, cheerful news to fill every newspaper in the land. Instead, what do we see reported in our mainstream media? Day after day, the same depressing, misinformed, misleading, sensationalist slander about our faith.

In the face of this, Penny Appeal resolved this year that just as we are committed to make a positive difference in people’s lives, so too should we be committed to ensure that we are being seen to make this positive change too. We all have to ensure the stories that are told about Muslims of Britain, reflect the beauty, kindness and sense of responsibility that is at the heart of our lived experience as British Muslims.

What better season to do that then during the winter. We know at Penny Appeal, that the poorest in our midst are particularly vulnerable during this time of the year. Every day, tens of thousands of families in the UK turn to food banks for support, more and more people are sleeping rough on our freezing cold streets, elderly people feel more isolated than ever before and so on and so forth, the list goes on. Thus, our Winter Emergency programme will be providing frontline support and reaching out to those in greatest need regardless of faith or background. Providing In excess of 20,000 meals to homeless and vulnerable people by way of hot food provisions and family food parcels, distributing 500+ winter warmer packs to rough sleepers containing basic essentials, our teams will be hosting tea parties for the elderly in our effort to combat loneliness and isolation as well as reaching out to sick children in hospital with festive gifts providing a positive and enriching environment for them to mix in.

To celebrate this momentous contribution from British Muslim communities – in other words, to ‘talk’ the ‘talk’ after ‘walking the ‘walk’ – we launched this week our bold new #AsBritishAs campaign. With a moving advert on ITV and Channel 5 at the heart of the campaign, this is the first time a Muslim charity has been featured as such on terrestrial channels. The adverts were first screened on Christmas Eve and will finish on New Year’s Eve. In conjunction with the TV adverts, our poster campaign also went live this past week in tube stations across the capital with the strapline, “As British As a Cup of Tea.

Tea is the iconic drink of Britain and yet it comes from the East. Likewise, our faith may have come from the East but as British Muslims, we’re at home in Britain and proudly so. We set about asking British Muslims to get involved and reach out on their social media on Christmas eve to tell people what they’re “#AsBritishAs” – the response was phenomenal.

Within an hour we were trending across the UK on twitter, eventually reaching the coveted ‘number 2’ spot, just behind Christmas Eve itself! Well known personalities as well as members of the public chimed in with the social media conversations ultimately reminding us that we can all come together to make a positive difference and it starts with a smile and a nice cup of tea! The best posts were able to remind us that Britain is at its best an amalgamation of cultural contributions from all over the world. While Islam may have arisen from the East, it’s universality meant that the faith married with local culture to remain dynamic and ever-contemporary, much like a cup of tea!

Once again, I’ve been humbled by our incredible team, from our programme staff on the ground helping those in real need to our marketing gurus who have been able to orchestrate an incredible campaign, together we have a new bar for our industry and indeed ourselves.

So, what are you waiting for? Get involved! The hashtag, #AsBritishAs is still floating around the ether-web and most importantly, if you’re able to donate towards Penny Appeal’s Winter Campaign, please visit www.pennyappeal.org/ or call 03000 11 11 11

Hope you enjoyed my article. Don’t forget to share!

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Muslim Panto? Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes, it is!

It’s been a phenomenal year for us at Penny Appeal and I can’t think of a better way to close the 2017 chapter by reflecting on the success of our phenomenal ‘Muslim Panto Tour.’

We pride ourselves at Penny Appeal as being a dynamic, fresh and ‘youth-full’ organisation, with almost our entire senior leadership in their twenties and thirties. As such, we ensure we keep our ‘fingers on the pulse’ and our ‘ears on the ground,’ so as to remain connected to the ever-evolving nature of British Muslim communities. Our success, after all, is thanks to the generosity of our donors, hailing primarily from Muslim backgrounds across the country

Serving in the leadership of brands that have become, with Allah’s blessings, household names, has afforded me an incredible window into the nature of our communities. This past year I’ve been fortunate to sit and share a hearty meal with some of the most senior scholars in our country and also have had the honour of serving food to some of the most vulnerable and poor in our country too. Likewise, I’ve had a chance to spend time in the company of senior Muslim politicians, cruising the corridors of power whilst also taking to the streets in solidarity with the politically disempowered and disenfranchised.

Experiencing such a range of engaged, contributing British Muslim leaders fills me with hope. In almost every branch of society, if you look hard enough, you will find emerging talent, unapologetic of their Islam and not afraid to define what it means to belong here in Britain. The cultural expressions of Islam that I grew up with were mostly half-baked Indo-Pak cultural mishaps that were simply not fit for purpose. Today, however, there are a generation of ‘renaissance’ women and men embracing the timeless values of our faith whilst remaining culturally relevant to the lived experiences of British Muslims today.

It is the great challenge of every generation of Muslims, since the passing of our beloved Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him; how do we balance traditional ethics with contemporary aesthetics? Looking back, I can see this is what we did with SingleMuslim.com and perhaps explains why we’ve reached over 2 million members, I just couldn’t quite explain it as well I can now.

I never set out with this grand mission to ‘make our faith relevant and engaging’ for young committed Muslims. I set up SingleMuslim.com as a natural extension of who I was, a reconciled British Muslim on a mission to find a wife! I had a problem and I set about crafting a solution, drawing on the confidence of my faith and the comfort with the tools that were at my disposal (thank God for internet, even though it was dial up back then!)

Fast forward to today, I’m so grateful that Penny Appeal, a multi-million-pound, award-winning charity with hundreds of staff can put its entire institutional weight behind supporting new dynamic expressions of British Muslim culture and entrepreneurship, helping them reach heights that I could only have dreamed on when I was on the beginning of my journey.

Enter, the Muslim Pantomime Tour. Embracing the festive spirit with crazy costumes, silly songs, bizarre blunders and lots of laughs, “If the Shoe Fits,” is our first foray into on-stage theatre. This tour sold our faster than any other event we’ve done. We had an incredible time across 6 cities, sharing a lot of laughs and raising an incredible amount of money for Penny Appeal’s OrphanKind programme.

The success of our Muslim panto tour further evidences what I’ve been exploring thus far. Across society, Muslims are looking for spaces that bring together their faith and values with contemporary expressions of British culture. Especially the younger generation who even further removed from wherever ‘back home’ might be.

We live in strange and difficult times, but where there is a crisis there is also an opportunity and you can count on Penny Appeal to be there serving society every step of the way.

 

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James Caan delivers gifts of joy to sick children at the Royal London Hospital

This week saw the heartfelt launch of Penny Appeal’s UK Winter Appeal campaign. Building on the exceptional work in response to the Grenfell Tower crisis, our teams will be taking your small change and making a big difference to so many in need across our country.

For me, there’s nothing more Christmassy than being more Christ-like, so this winter Penny Appeal will be spending time with sick and vulnerable children, feeding the hungry and homeless, sharing company with elderly people in need, assisting those looking to foster and adopt this and even counsel those suffering from domestic abuse or violence.

We made an important decision at Penny Appeal last year to marry each of our international development campaigns with a sister ‘mirror’ project here in the UK. ‘Penny Appeal @ Home’ is the new face of our domestic welfare programmes and represents our deep commitment to alleviating the suffering of those in need right on our doorsteps.

To mark the new campaign, we packed ‘Penny,’ our trusted double-decker bus, full to the rafters with children’s toys and gifts and headed off to a very special children’s ward at The Royal London Hospital. It’s one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country, home to London’s Air Ambulance and one of the many hospitals and hospices that Penny Appeal supports throughout the year.

Joining us on this very special visit was our newest Ambassador, entrepreneurial maestro James Caan CBE. It’s been a phenomenal journey to witness, having introduced James to the charity earlier this year, to now have him proudly fly the Penny Appeal flag. His endorsement reminds me how crucial this work is and that through hard work and determination success breeds more success.

As founder and Chairman of Penny Appeal, I’ve travelled across the world and witnessed with my very own eyes the most harrowing poverty, desperation and need. I brim with pride knowing that our teams have been able to make a difference to millions of lives across the world and I grieve at the thought of how much more there is to do.

I also know that poverty has many faces. Those nearest to us in need have perhaps a greater right over our generosity than those further away. When my family are in need of me; one of my children takes ill, for example, they become the entire focus of my being. It doesn’t take away from other people’s needs, rather it reminds us that charity, giving and serving, begins at home. As living legend, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) sung on a recent album, “…if you want to help your fellow man. You better start with what is in your hand.”

Visiting the Royal London opened my eyes to this realisation that bit more. We met children who have spent most of their lives at deaths door, moving from ward to ward, not knowing life beyond the hospital. Beneath the warm words and smiles of their carers, I saw parents exhausted from the toll of looking after their sick children. I couldn’t but help but put myself in their shoes, knowing just how any parent would sacrifice all they had for their children. It was thus a special privilege to witness Penny Appeal’s very own ‘Team Orange’ volunteer force in full flow helping lift the spirits of these poorly children and their families with gift bags, brimming with presents ahead of the festive season.

That’s your small change in action, bringing big smiles to poorly children and their families right here in the UK. We hope to have left the families with the knowledge that there are people out there who are thinking of them and remembering them. We don’t have to share the same background or religion to extend a helping hand, this is what we learn from our faith. As a British Muslim, this is what the Christmas spirit is all about, communities coming together to help those in need. At home or abroad, we all bleed the same blood and cry the same tears. We offer our help to people not because of who they are but rather because who we are; people driven to serve others.

Charity is as much about giving with your spirit than it is giving with your wealth and I’m honoured that we’re able to do both at Penny Appeal. This winter, as you snuggle up with your family in the warmth of your homes, spare a thought and a prayer for those who might not have families to care for them or even a place to call home. Sometimes the people struggling could be right under our noses and we don’t realise.

This winter Penny Appeal is serving those in most need, at home and across the world. Learn about our life saving work and consider making a contribution, little or large. Team Orange are waiting to hear from you now on 03000 11 11 11 or head to our website on www.pennyappeal.org

 

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To (South Africa,) infinity and beyond!

adeem younis

In a few short years Penny Appeal has grown from a small outfit raising a couple hundred thousand pounds to now a globally renowned award-winning humanitarian agency turning over, in the past 12 months alone, in excess of £22 million transforming lives in over 30 countries.

As we’ve grown from strength to strength it sometimes amazes even our own team to look back and appreciate all that has been accomplished. As Founder and Chairman one of the tasks I’m charged with is to rally the troops and keep motivation and morale high. One of the potential drawbacks of growing so quickly is not stopping to celebrate all the milestones we have achieved along the way.

adeem younis

When I started Penny Appeal, all those moons ago, I never thought our vision would resonate so powerfully with Muslim communities across the country, let alone across the planet. The reality of our inter-connected world today is that I, as a British Muslim, have more in common with fellow young Muslims in Sydney, San Francisco or even Sarajevo than I do with my parents’ generation of Muslims or even my local imam. Migration patterns along with technological advancements have led to the emergence of what many call the ‘Global Urban Muslim’ identity.

adeem younis

Global Urban Muslims share commonalities across geographies and view their faith and cultural fusion as source of inspiration and value, not as a liability or crutch. This community is the very reason Penny Appeal has been so successful across the world. It’s an exciting time for Penny Appeal as we see more and more communities across the world connecting with our vision, the most recent being in South Africa.

With a hope, a prayer, a few phone calls and a handful of emails I was on a plane to the tip of Africa, a country that has witnessed incredible transformation in our lifetimes. Our team spent a whirlwind week connecting with movers and shakers across the country and we are very excited about our burgeoning South African team who have taken the Penny Appeal vision by the horns and are already working to make it their own.

With so much doom and gloom in the world, not least in the work we do tackling extreme poverty, our new South Africa office gives us pause to celebrate. As Penny Appeal continues to grow it’s easy to gloss over the small wins. It’s not just another office, another country, another team; rather it’s a leap into a new world of opportunities to learn and to share and help transform small change into an even bigger difference.

Share our story and vision with potential partners on the ground in South Africa has revitalised our drive and reminded us of how much more work there is to do. We have connected with some incredible organisations and leaders and are already incorporating our learnings from the trip across the length and breadth of the organisation.

At Penny Appeal, we aspire to create a sustainable world through empowered people and strong communities. Our work started above a pizza shop in Yorkshire is now fast spreading across the world. I’m so grateful to all who have believed in our vision and helped us grow from strength to strength. Our South Africa team brings decades of experience, wisdom and insight to our work. Where next? Allah knows, but for us it’s onwards and upwards.

Bismillah.

Adeem Younis

Founder of the UK’s largest Muslim website SingleMuslim.com and chairman of Britain’s fastest growing Muslim-led charity Penny Appeal, award-winning entrepreneur and humanitarian making a difference around the world.

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A lifetime of wisdom – 7 sound bites from Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool

The word ‘legend’ is often thrown around rather carelessly, but the word is hardly enough to describe the giant of a character who I have had the fortunate pleasure of hosting recently. Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool’s reputation precedes himself. The former premiere of the Western Cape and later South African Ambassador to the Obama Administration, spent time in prison (for all the right reasons) with revolutionary freedom fighter Nelson Mandela who praised his efforts for galvanising the Muslim community in the struggle against apartheid. With deep roots in his faith, he has dedicated his life to translating the vision and values of Islam into the world to make a lasting positive impact.

Fresh off a flight from literally the other side of the world, Ambassador Rasool shows no signs of slowing down as he thrusted himself into a world wind tour of Penny Appeal’s offices in Wakefield, sharing priceless feedback and advice from a lifetime of wisdom and empowered activism.

We scribbled down some of those gems to share with you all. Have included a little personal reflection for each one, I hope you find them as beneficial as we did, let us know thoughts and do share with someone that might benefit from them too!

1. “We need to become warriors of the grey”         

Ambassador Rasool spoke about the need to not just move beyond simplistic black and white thinking, but rather master the nuance needed to navigate our work, politics, relationships and beyond. Yes, it’s easier said than done but remember we don’t grow in our comfort zones!

2. “Sometimes spiritual purity is an excuse to do nothing”          

We spoke candidly about the idea of ‘spiritual evasion’ – using religion as an excuse not to do anything. Sometimes our zeal for staying on the straight and narrow translates to a reluctance to act and get our hands a little dirty, remember it only takes for good men to stand aside for evil to prevail (see point above.)

3. “We have to dramatise the middle ground”

Being balanced, middle-grounded, reasonable and so on just isn’t attractive these days. What attracts young people? What feeds media headlines? How do we grab attention and sell our vision? Being in the middle often means being boring but it doesn’t have to be that way, we just have to be inventive and purposeful when competing with the easily-sensationalised margins.

4. “We cannot fight the siblings of bigotry separately, we must fight bigotry as a whole”

The Ambassador challenged us as to how much we do for marginalised communities in our societies in beyond. It was an uncomfortable but crucial conversation. We’re ever ready to demand the rights due to us and our communities, but how often do we see Muslims on the front line defending the rights of others? It’s easy to give an example or two, but if we are honest these are the exception to the rule. We have a long way to go to shift this culture of entitlement and it begins in our own organisations and institutions.

5. “No one ever cleaned the world without finding himself in the mud”

We’ve got to roll our sleeves up and get into the muck of it all. It’s not enough to sit on the margins and mull over what needs to be done in our socities. There’s plenty of armchair critics and keyboard warriors, what the world needs, what our communities need, what our oranisations need is individuals not afraid to sweat it out in the heat of it all. The sweetness is in the struggle.

6. “We must master the art of the gesture; not just grandstanding”       

This particular statement from the Ambassador really struck me, as did the anecdotes he shared to emphasise the point. There is so much beauty and brilliance brimming in British Muslim communities, however as much as we do good, we have to be seen to being doing that good too. We shouldn’t confuse the admirable spiritual value of humility with failing to choreograph the contributions the movements we belong to make day in and day out, especially when Muslims have such a tarnished reputation.

7. “We shouldn’t reduce ourselves to the lowest common denominator but rather call to the highest common factor”

I loved this little mathematical nugget of wisdom from Ambassador Rasool. When talking about bringing opposing ideas or groups of people together we often hear the phrase, let’s reach the ‘lowest common denominator.’ But why reduce our collective potential, when we could leverage what makes us different to maximise our output? All that’s required is some inventive thinking and a little faith in the greater good, and I’m certain there’s plenty of that to go around.

Hope your enjoyed these reflections, do let me know your thoughts and be sure to share with your networks too.

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Penny Appeal Staff Celebration Dinner 2017

It’s become Penny Appeal tradition to host a staff celebration dinner after Ramadan. We take stock of the year gone by over a hearty meal, share stories of inspiration and success and this year we launched the inaugural Penny Appeal Extra Mile awards for particularly dedicated staff and volunteers.

Below is the speech that I had prepared – I didn’t quite stick to script nonetheless I hope you enjoy these words I offered to the Penny Appeal family (that includes all of you now) last week!

“Small Change – Big Difference” this is one of the most commonly heard phrases in our organisation. Whether you’re in our call centre in Wakefield, watching the Big Charity Show on British Muslim TV, in our new offices in the US, Australia and South Africa or across any one of the 30+ countries we work in, time and time again you will hear “Small Change, Big Difference”

This is what Penny Appeal is all about and today I want to reflect with you a little on what that means: small change, big difference.

You see, when you think about all the crises and challenges that face the world, it’s easy to feel disheartened and even depressed. You may feel like you can’t make a difference. You’re just one person. What can you do? When you read the statistics; billions hungry, millions dying, thousands of diseases and on going wars, it just all seems impossible to overcome. What can we really do?

The truth is the work that needs to be done is not only impossible for us to achieve, but perhaps impossible for us to even conceive. We all dream about saving the world but the reality is we can’t even imagine the true scale of what needs to be done. Now, you can take that piece of information and you can feel sad and disempowered or you can do something amazing, you can choose to be liberated.

You see, you are not asked to save the world. You are not asked to end world hunger or stop every war from happening. No one is going to hold you to task for not saving every life that could have been saved – so you can relax. You’re free from that! You don’t have to fix everything because put simply, you can’t fix everything, no one can. That is the work of God. What we are asked to do is simple: do that which you can do, do it well and leave the rest in Allah’s Hands. This is the meaning of small change, big difference.

At Penny Appeal we seek to empower each and every one of us small changes in our lives and in doing so, create a big difference. If we all are able to do our little bit, it adds up to a big difference. We all can push ourselves to donate that little bit extra, spend that little bit more time working for the those who need our help, (especially you Bilal!) put in that little bit more effort. If we can push ourselves a little bit further, we can be the change that we want to see in the world.

As my business SingleMuslim.com was growing from strength to strength I decided to spend some holiday time visiting family in Pakistan. Having lost my father at a young age I wanted to visit the village where he was from and perhaps offer something back as a way of thanks to my ancestral home. It was there when I first met people living in genuine poverty. I thought about how much I had been blessed with at home and promised myself I would do something to help transform the lives of the people we saw. We met with families and heard their stories. We paid off debt for people who were struggling for decades, we built wells and fed scores of people from the village.

But the reality of it all only really hit me when I got home. I landed in Manchester airport and pulled up at the nearest petrol station before I drove back to Wakefield. The fuel gauge stopped at £90. Before my trip I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at the cost of filling up my car but I remembered my conversation with Ali. All the people you can see in the picture here, Ali looks after them on his school teacher salary of just £30 a month. What it cost to fill up my car could have supported Ali’s family for three whole months. The thought sent shivers down my spine. £30 is just about a meal for two for us here but for Ali that £30 is his monthly lifeline.

A week or so later I was recounting the story to one of my clients, Dave, I was a little embarrassed at first comparing my holiday in Pakistan to Dave’s family trip to Disneyland, but Dave was moved. So much so that he took out his cheque book and made the first donation I had ever received. I felt an immense sense of responsibility in that moment, I shared Ali’s story and here, someone in Britain who had never met him or even seen his picture gave some of his small change to help make a big difference in Ali’s life. This is how Penny Appeal was born.

I could never have imagined the incredible journey that that first donation would take us on. Transforming millions of lives, helping generations of people escape the vicious cycle of poverty, working in over 30 countries, hosted by prime ministers, recognised by presidents, winning countless awards, raising millions of pounds, employing hundreds of staff – all from a small change.

Many of you have not been able to see all the work we do with your own eyes but rest assured every mouse click, every letter typed and every phone call is helping to literally save lives around the world. On behalf of all our beneficiaries, just like Ali and his family, I want to thank you for from the bottom of my heart for all the incredible work you do.

What’s next for Penny Appeal? More than you or I could possibly imagine. Our mission continues to inspire people to make a small change in their lives, to pray a little more, to care a little more, to give a little more.

Penny Appeal is transforming your small change into a BIG difference.

As Chairman, I want to say thanks for being part of our journey and for your continued generous support. You are making a world of difference to millions out there and I couldn’t be more proud.

Adeem Younis

Founder of the UK’s largest Muslim website SingleMuslim.com and chairman of Britain’s fastest growing Muslim-led charity Penny Appeal, award-winning entrepreneur and humanitarian making a difference around the world.

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Muslims are Britain’s top charity givers

adeem

Ramadan is almost here!

As we gear up for the busiest month of our personal and professional lives I’m reminded of research that tells us Muslims are Britain’s top charity givers. What’s even more amazing is that this is in spite of the fact that almost half of the British Muslim population live in bottom 10% of local authority districts for deprivation.

I want you to soak that in for a moment.

Despite belonging to poorest communities in the country (owing to migration patterns as well as being at the brunt of the highest rates of prejudice and discrimination) British Muslims are still the most generous of people. Having the honour to witness the sheer scale of this every Ramadan is truly one of the highlights of my year.

I’ve been blessed to be able to travel to the countries and communities where your generous donations are transforming lives. Whether it’s rural Pakistan or remote villages in the Gambia when I tell our beneficiaries that the aid they receive has come from their sisters and brothers in the UK I’m almost always met with the same universal sense of disbelief.

It’s inconceivable to them that thousands of miles away, in a far away (and very cold) land there are Muslims who care about their struggles and pain; it literally brings tears to their eyes. Most British Muslims will never see the faces of the people they help or even know their names. We give with open hearts as an expression of our faith and in doing so we are transformed by the very act of giving. Our teachers remind us that whilst the we may call the poor people we help our ‘beneficiaries’ in the next life the tables are turned as we will be grateful to have had the opportunity to have done good, in that sense, we, as donors, are the true beneficiaries.

Ramadan is the month where we starve ourselves of our physical pleasures and delight in the spiritual banquet on offer. Our faith asks us to do to the difficult task of thinking beyond of ourselves, when we’re able to put other people before ourselves it makes the world a better place. We all seek to fill our lives with happiness but did you know the very word ‘pleasure’ comes from the old French verb ‘plaisir’ which means ‘to please’ – in other words to please other people.

Our happiness doesn’t depend on what we have but rather on what we can do for others; when you get a critical mass of people thinking of others before themselves, as we experience in Ramadan, that’s how you build a little bit of heaven on earth.

I’m so grateful that year in, year out, through transforming your small chance into a big difference, here at Penny Appeal we play our part.

Come and join the movement, Bismillah.

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British Muslim community struggle with faith and sense of identity.

It’s been almost a week since the dust has settled on Penny Appeal’s latest charity tour featuring one of Britain’s freshest talents, Harris J.

Each venue was sold out and we raised over hundred thousand pounds in aid of our Forgotten Children campaign, helping vulnerable and forgotten children off the streets, out of danger and into places of love and care. By all measures the tour is another success story for our award-winning charity, however, I wanted to reflect on the subtler successes that tours like this generate.

Our success at Penny Appeal is driven by the generosity of the British Muslim public who have trusted us to deliver their hard-earned donations. Endowed with that trust we also feel a sense of responsibility to invest back into the British Muslim community and one of the ways we are doing that is opening our platforms in support of British Muslim arts and culture.

In a time where we see the politics of hate and division turn communities against one another, it is our art that can bring hearts and minds together. Art is more than just entertainment it offers a space for us to imagine and reflect and perhaps, more importantly, generates conversation and community that can help us understand who we are, where we are going and even deepen our relationship with Allah.

Over 50% of the British Muslim community are under the age of 30 and our young people often feel stuck between a rock and a hard place; scapegoated and vilified by politicians and the media on one side and alienated in their own communities, struggling to find places to belong. In this context, it’s not hard to imagine why so many young Muslims struggle with their faith and sense of identity and it is for this reason why investing in the arts is so important.

Sitting in the crowd at Penny Appeal’s SALAM tour with Harris J I witnessed how art can be so healing. When our very own masjids become places where young people feel unwelcomed it truly warms my heart to see the Muslim community in all its rich diversity; young and old, sisters and brothers, people from all walks of life and backgrounds, come together, sing beautiful praises of our Lord and support great causes at the same time.

Success can be measured in many ways, but ultimate success can only be measured by Allah, we pray our efforts are accepted and we thank you, once again, for your constant love, generosity and support.

 

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London Marathon 2017 Experience – “Say, I Do” to giving the gift of marriage to those in need.

Running the London marathon has been the most gruelling and inspiring feats of my entire life. After months of training and preparing I was so humbled to have crossed the finish line to honour my challenge of helping 100 couples in desperate poverty get married. Thank you so much to everyone who’s supported me on the journey (and thanks in advance to the rest of you who are still to support me too!)

One of the things that really struck me during the marathon was the incredible sense of unity. People from every walk of life, men, women, old, young, every race, colour and creed imaginable, all coming together to witness something spectacular. So many great causes, so many people pushing themselves beyond and so many more cheering them along the way.

Think there’s few places in the world where people can come together in such a brilliant way, this is one of the core teachings of our faith, to wish for your brothers and sisters what you wish for yourself. Our scholars teach us that this Prophetic teaching doesn’t just mean your brothers and sisters in faith, but rather your brothers and sisters in humanity. This, for me, is what it means to be British and what it means to be a Muslim.

Thank you once again for all your support, it really means the world to me, and means even more to those who will benefit from your generous donations.

Help me reach my target to help 100 couples, many of whom are orphans, start their married life in prosperity and out of poverty.

Donate to www.justgiving.com/100marriagechallenege

Listen to my interview with BBC World Service where I talk about my 100 Marriage Challenge.

 

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Adeem Younis

Adeem Younis

Founder of SingleMuslim.com and PennyAppeal.org