Nasir Mosque works to better the community and promotes peace in Hartlepool and Teesside.
Anna Ferguson Community Reporter
Teesside is home to a wide variety of cultures and religions and many aren’t always aware of the different work religious groups carry out in the hopes of bettering the whole community.
From supporting food banks and delivering meals to those unable to leave their homes, to raising funds for the annual Poppy Appeal and visiting the world’s most deprived nations to off their support, we speak to members of Hartlepool’s Nasir Mosque to find out more about the voluntary work of members. Farhan Ali, who is outreach secretary and in charge of external affairs at the mosque, and regional missionary Tahir Selby have discussed the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association’s long history of helping other.
Committed to engaging with communities and working for the common good, the association has raised millions of pounds for a huge variety of British charities, regardless of religion, as they try to unite all and break down barriers. It’s all part of Nasir Mosque’s work hard to spread their message of ‘love for all, hatred for none.’
So why are they based in Hartlepool?
The mosque was built in Hartlepool, rather than one of the bigger areas in the Tees Valley, as it is where Dr Khan and his wife, originally settled in the 1980s. The couple would often welcome fellow Muslims to their home and began to build relationships within the community in Hartlepool .
Tahir said: “They were all meeting at Dr Khan’s house originally so there was a need to find somewhere else and just before Dr Khan sadly passed, he was looking for a place in Hartlepool which is why the mosque is built in here – but we cover the whole of Teesside.”
The Nasir Mosque was built in 2005 and there are approximately 300 members across Teesside and around 30,000 in the UK. Tahir explained how there was initially problems with some Hartlepool residents but over time they have built long-lasting relationships.
Pre-covid, there were many events organised to welcome the community into the mosque, regardless of their religion, to learn about their peaceful teachings of Islam. They have also visited schools and attended other events to help educate others, young and old.
How do they support the people of Hartlepool?
Having initially started during the pandemic as a way to support NHS staff, their efforts developed to support local food banks and surrounding neighbours who are struggling, especially during the cost of living crisis. The Nasir Mosque also donates meals to St Aidan’s Church and the Annexe Centre every Thursday.
So far they’ve helped distribute over 12,000 means to those who need it most. All of the ingredients are donated by their own members, who will help cook the meals in the mosque weekly – and even young children help with packaging.
Members also support those living in the community who are unable to leave the house by reaching out and delivering free meals. Tahir said: “It has to be a regular thing as people come to depend on it so it is organised weekly and they tend to distribute around 160+ meals weekly, which comes directly from our own members.”
The youngsters are introduced to charity work early and they often complete litter picking in the surrounding areas. They even go out on New Year’s day to clean up their hometown.
And, dedicated to improving the environment, the group has helped plant hundreds of trees across the area.
What about the mosque’s charity work?
Last April, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community raised over £25,000 for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal in total, with the Hartlepool and Newcastle branches donating almost £7,000.
Humanity First is an international charity that provides disaster relief and long term development assistance. Farhan explained how some members travel to countries that need their help and offer their time and expertise.
They have built schools, helped with wells for water, provided meals for children in most deprived nations in the world and aim to support in all ways to better their education and future.
Funds are donated through national walks and the Nasir Mosque organises their own walk at Ward Jackson Park to raise money for a variety of charities. Farhan added: “We help people locally, regionally and nationally. We will go wherever there is a need.”
“We do it to please God and win blessings from him,” said Tahir and Farhan. “We don’t necessarily need thanks from the public, it’s enough to know we’re doing it for God and that’s our motivation.