Islamic Studies

Mosque helps out local church

Originally published on ChristianAid

A church whose £600 Christian Aid Week collection was stolen has had the money replaced by members of the neighbouring mosque.

Members of the Ilford Islamic Centre read about the crime in the local newspaper, the Ilford Recorder, and at Friday prayers the following day they donated enough to cover the church’s loss. They had also given money towards the original collection.

Church Mosque

A happy father David Milnes and imam Mohammed Jamsheid with the cheque covering the stolen cash.
Photo: courtesy of Ilford Recorder. Visit

Father David Milnes, vicar at St Alban’s Church in Ilford, Essex, said he was ‘absolutely thrilled. It was a wonderful gesture of support, friendship and goodwill.’

When he told the congregation about the donation, he said, ‘everybody burst into applause’.

The church congregation also gave generously in the wake of the theft, which occurred on Thursday 22 May. As a result, the final collection was larger than the original one.

The friendly relationship between the church and the mosque goes back to the 1970s, when the mosque organisation purchased an old church hall from the church, and used the land to build the Ilford Islamic Centre.

Asked how the members of the church and the mosque got on so well, he said: ‘We just respect one another. They respect our position as Christians, we do not water down our faith, and we respect them.’

Mohammed Azam, a spokesman for the Islamic Centre, said that when Muslim worshippers heard what had happened, they wanted to cover the church’s loss.

‘There is a deep and respectful relationship between the two [church and mosque]. They are our neighbours, and we wanted to help them out,’ he said.

As well as being neighbours, the mosque and church leaders know each other through local meetings of the Three Faiths Forum, added Mr Azam.

St Albans’ Christian Aid Week collection was stolen from a locked safe and the theft was caught on CCTV. The police were told about the crime and they promised to attend within 72 hours but so far, all they have done is to provide a crime number, said Fr Milnes.

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  • May ALLAH reward our Muslim brothers for showing mercy and compassion.

    Something as small as such can change the worlds vision about Islam and Muslims, so MashaALLAH may ALLAH give our brother tawfi9, for ALLAH alone gives success.

    w’ALLAHo lmosta’an.

  • This is the type character that intrigued many nations to become Muslim in the time of the salaf. Islam will always have its representatives!

  • Assalamu’alaykum
    I’m sure there’s people out there who would say that such actions by the masjid is “helping others in trangression”, “supporting the christians”, and/or “taking them as awliyaa”, etc.
    How can we refute such statements?

  • atif;

    before u refute, ask urself who r you helping? are you helping to direct people to worsip Allah alone or are you directing them to worship other than Allah by continuing their services.

    I believe this act is not appropriate to help people to direct worship other than Allah. you are continuing their service which is based on shirk and kufr?

    Im surprise nobody is refuting this act.

  • Think People-

    A- Not giving them the money would not have prevented them from worshiping other than Allah.

    B- Christians (and Jews, gasp!) have the right to practice their religion even under Muslim rule.

    C- Refraining from assisting them (in a really small but symbolic way) would have no effect at all. It would be a non-event.
    However, giving a small donation at least raises the profile of Muslims in the local community and may be a source of guidance for them.

    Wallahu ‘alam.

  • i believe during ottoman empire and in a lot of contemporary islamic countries non-muslims are given government assistance to build or renovate their houses of worship. i don’t see why it would be wrong if muslims decide to help their non-muslim neighbours through citizen participation. after all what they do with their money should not be the raison d’etre for giving charity.

  • Assalamu Alaikum,

    Everyone who is criticizing this act, should do their research before yelling: “shirk, astaghfirullah! You are supporting the kuffar….(insert more phrases here).

    1. Christian Aid Week is NOT an organization or event which supports any kind of Christian worship services. It is a 100% a charity event that does purely humanitarian work all over the world.

    Christian Aid Week is run by Christian Aid in the UK, an entirely humanitarian group.

    It is NOT the Christian Aid missionary group that is run in the U.S. Completely different.

    2. They are not involved in any kind of active missionary work. They are experts in relief, disaster relief, climate change, and other causes that affect all people.

    3. The money of Muslims, essentially went to these causes. Not to help anyone worship besides Allah (swt). As the Prophet (saw) said, even if they called him to fulfill his responsibilities to Hilf ul Fudul – the Alliance for Charity which existed before his Prophethood and had mushrikeen in its ranks doing good work for all people who were disadvantaged, he would respond.

    4. It is time the Muslims do more to throw our support behind our own organizations of relief as well. These guys are out doing us in good when it comes to relief……

    5. Let us please do our research before we start our online blog khutbahs.

    wa alaikum assalam
    Abdul Sattar

  • Very admirable mashallah. I’m always blown away when hearing of money stolen from mosques or churches, it would seriously take a low-life with no fear of God to engage in such a crime. On the other hand, kudos to the Islamic center for stepping in and helping out their neighbors. May Allah reward them and allow the fruits of their deed to blossom in the aid given via the money donated to the charity.

  • Salam,

    I know personally the brothers that run this masjid and the work they do and have nothing but admiration for them. DON’T Get me wrong!

    However, this statement by Br Abdul Sattar is a bit puzzling “1. Christian Aid Week is NOT an organization or event which supports any kind of Christian worship services. It is a 100% a charity event that does purely humanitarian work all over the world. ”

    Further, to back up this argument with WIKi (which is not an authority but a peer group led information portal, with no objectivity) is bemusing.

    Christian Aid’s does fund Christian missionaries from monies raised. Have you ever asked any of them?

    You only have to go to third world countries to see how money is offered to those that start by attending “educational classes” which do not end with any certificate but a Bible! How can a Muslim help with such activity?

  • I was actually afraid more people would be criticizing the masjid. Mashallah though. This is the kind of behavior we need from Muslims not fools yelling and screaming “Shirk ” right and left. Two faiths, believe it or not, can coexist and help each other. mashallah

  • Assalamu Alaikum,

    May Allah reward the brothers in the Mosque committee. I am sure they also benefit by giving the money to the church.

    I am personally involved with the local church in my locality to establish a small masjid for the Muslim minority. We cooperate with each other on building a harmonious community and Alhamdulillah so far the partnership is going well. Therefore, I do not think helping the church to further community cohesion is bad. Wallahu ‘alam

  • Masahllah this is the behaviour that Muslims all over the world need to follow because it will attract the non muslims to Islam.

  • salaam,

    Br. Daroon, good point. Wiki is not an authority 🙂 But professors are actually allowing it on sources now! But your point is well-taken. It is very important to be careful. And you may definitely be correct, they may actually be doing some hidden-missionary work where they can.

    My original point was simply that they are not a missionary organization, they are a relief organization, and are recognized as such by international orgs and countries all over the world and that no one should be quick to criticize our brothers/sisters for “helping shirk” etc, because thats…kind of a big deal 🙂

    From their site:

    2. Do you only work with Christians?

    No. We help people according to need. Their faith, or lack of it, is of no interest to us. Some of our partners are Christian, some are Muslim or Jewish or Hindu – some are of no religious persuasion at all. As long as they are good at what they do, we don’t discriminate.

    The organisation and its work are inspired by Christian values of faith, charity, hope and truth, but we are not missionaries. In fact, to insist on Christianity as a condition of aid would contradict our principles. Put simply, ‘aid’ is what we do, ‘Christian’ is why we do it.


    I agree with your larger point though. We have to be careful, and there may definitely be some missionary work going on somewhere under the table, in a classroom, etc. inshAllah the move served as some good da’wah though. If anything, I guess we should be inspired to ramp up our own Muslim orgs’ relief capabilities inshAllah!

    wa salaam

  • Think, hope your well. This act can perhaps be classified in fiqh under “mualifatul quloob” (softening the hearts) that being charitable to non-muslims in haraam or extending shirk that need evidence. This idea of not being charitable to non-muslims in fact aids those who work maliciously against Islam in their efforts. That Muslims can demonstrate maturity by being kind to others is in fact a sign that up to now some of us have not lost our humanity despite our state.

    We need to re-evaluate the way we think if we our going to continue living in the West. Our lack of charitable acts in the world towards people period is very much lacking so is our dawah efforts. Say what you want but in random acts of kindness others seem to be taking the lead. I mean I have heard a story related by my teacher that Christians funded a Muslim to study at Azhar. Now where are the Muslims in aiding others in truth? Personally it is sickening to hear constantly that the world is crap and everything is haram and we are the best of people while in truth we are not doing much at all to better the world. We ought to engage in self-criticism from time to time to refine our actions and purpose.

    I am glad these Muslims did this and if the Christians use the money for missionary activity then we should compete with them in effort and cash in making the world a better place.

  • Asalamu alaykum,

    As a community we need to grapple with the negativity gene that tends to blur our vision of things. We cannot disrespect others and expect the opposite, nor can we ignore the call of mercy and expect our call to be heard.

    One of the major complaints I here from the homies in the streets is that our community is hypocritical. I applaud the efforts of this community and pray that goodness will come from this. If we are not careful in the West, a small minority from our community; ignorant of our faith, blind to our morality and guided by a sense of intolerance that borders on bigotry, will bring us down. And while the immigrants are able to run back home, it is us, the indigenous population, that will turn around and find our homies pointing their fingers at us saying, “You were from amongst us and you failed to live up to your calling.” Wake up brothers and sisters! Mature and serve your communities.


  • mashallah….nice to see my local msq doing such a great gesture….

    In the Uk we need this…to serve the People, whatever the creed, colour and race….

    my cousin came with me to pray juma here a few weeks ago, and was suprised to see how opposite there is a Hindu Temple and on the side a church..all in harmony….

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