A Muslim association donated more than £1m to UK charities on Friday, including almost £502,000 to the Poppy Appeal.
The Ahmaddiyah Muslim Elders Association (AMEA) held the annual charity cheque presentation ceremony at the UK’s largest mosque Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden.
The event was the culmination of the Charity Walk for Peace, which the AMEA runs in several locations across the country each year to raise money for UK charities, schools and councils.
Mansoor Shah, acting president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK (AMCUK), said: “I’m an old man, but with charity work you get ten times better satisfaction than you will get in any job.
“Every time you do a good deed you will always be remembered by God Almighty — it makes no difference whether the people thank you or not.”
He said that in the efforts to build a better society £1m was ‘nothing’, and he encouraged the AMEA to keep going ‘until the time comes when you can do £100m.’
The AMCUK is part of the global Ahmadiyya Islamic revival movement founded in Punjab, British India, in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The movement believes that Ghulam Ahmad was a promised Messiah who came to refine the teachings of Islam, and followers are known as Ahmadis.
The AMEA who organised the Charity Walk for Peace is comprised solely of British Ahmadi men older than 40.
CHEQUE THIS OUT...British Legion’s Guy Upward with a bumper cheque
The event on Friday was attended by three MPs, 12 mayors and representatives of more than 150 UK charities, schools and councils.
MP for Kingston and Surbiton Sir Ed Davey – pictured above at the ceremony – thanked the AMEA for a £4,000 donation to the Love Kingston charity.
He said both Love Kingston and the AMCUK share the same motto: “Love for all, hatred for none.”
He added: “I have never seen anything quite like it. Thank you for what you have done. Thank you for your huge generosity and thank you for the many volunteers for your hard work.”
Vice president of the AMEA Khalid Mahmood said he raised £12,000 this year and was recognised at the event as a charity champion.
He said: “It is not easy to even pay taxes, everybody is crying, but we go out to do this for our community.”
Father-of-four Mahmood, a financial planner, took two days off to fundraise outside London Bridge station. He raised the remainder through family, friends and work colleagues.
He explained that the Baitul Futuh Mosque was also built entirely by donations, and the cooks who fed an estimated 600 attendees at the cheque presentation event had worked from 8am for free.
Since 1985, the AMEA has raised a total of £5.2 million for UK charities through the Charity Walk for Peace. This year’s £1m is the largest amount ever raised in a year, up on £685,000 in 2017 and £504,000 in 2016.
WITH THANKS…Acting President AMCUK Mansoor Shah
Assistant director of fundraising at the Royal British Legion (RBL) Guy Upward paid tribute to the ‘power of volunteers’ as he thanked the AMEA for their £501,978.45 donation to the Poppy Appeal, which is the RBL’s biggest fundraising campaign.
He said the RBL provided materials, such as collection buckets, and the AMEA supplied volunteers — some of whom spent 15-hour-days over two week periods without pay to raise money for the Poppy Appeal.
Vice president of the AMEA Mahmood said the Poppy Appeal was chosen as a recipient due to the important work the armed forces do in defending the country.
He added: “We are not doing this to show off, we are doing it for God.”
Radio technician Waqas, who fundraised in New Malden, said: “One of the main reasons is to get the blessings of God Almighty, for doing work that’s good for humanity.”
Representatives from the 157 UK charities, schools and councils went up to the front of the Tahir Hall at the Baitul Futuh Mosque to receive their cheques and smile for the cameras.
Among the recipients were Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, which received £2,627 pounds, and Christ Church New Malden Church of England Primary School, which received £4,000.
RBL community fundraiser for South West London Mark Bishop said: “People should come here to see the speeches and see the awards. It’s unimaginable.”
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