‘Being able to stay open is a blessing’: The role of a London mosque in Covid times

Imam Adeel Shah, one of the youngest Imams in the UK, opens up about what it’s been like at the Baitul Futuh Mosque during the pandemic

Imam Adeel has shared what it’s been like at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Merton during the pandemic

At 26, Imam Adeel Shah is one of the youngest Imams in the UK, and belongs to one of the largest mosques in Europe.

The Baitul Futuh Mosque in Merton belongs to a sect of Islam called Ahmadiyya.

“The Quran teaches community,” said the Imam, when MyLondon spoke to him about what life’s been like during the pandemic.

“You are supposed to help your community, no matter what their faith.”

Before the pandemic, the mosque was heavily involved in community engagement, running initiatives like litter-picking groups and speaking in local schools.

Imam Adeel Shah and other members at a food drive

Over the lockdown, the mosque’s members were able to naturally continue offering their outreach services to assist those impacted by Covid-19.

Their work included delivering food and medicine to vulnerable people and delivering PPE to frontline workers and others who needed it to keep safe.

Adeel explained that this emphasis on engagement is informed by their religious teaching.

“The people who live 20 doors down from you are all your family,” he said.

“We used our social media networks to put out , saying things like ‘if you want help, either with food deliveries or anything like that, please get in touch’.”

With regards to vaccines, Adeel thinks the mosque’s position as a trusted source within their community helps to spread the word about governmental medical advice.

“We have members who have taken the vaccine and [our leader] believes it is important to stick to governmental regulations.

“We are trusted so we have to use that.”

Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the leader of the Baitul Futuh Mosque is also the global head of their particular faith.

Currently, the Baitul Futuh Mosque is still open for worship, as it is allowed by UK law.

“Obviously there social distancing and other Covid-safe measures in place,” Adeel continued.

The mosque even have a ‘corona officer’ to make sure that any services are following Covid-safe protocol.

The Baitul Futuh Mosque is still open for now, while the borough of Merton has low infection rates compared with many other London boroughs. But this decision could be reconsidered if cases get worse.

“”We have seen the fact that we can stay open as a blessing, but if cases rise to a dangerous level in our area then I’m sure [the leadership] will consider it.”

Adeel says that while prayers being allowed, other social engagement with the mosque members are held virtually.

He said: “We all meet online, and there’s even virtual sports day for children, where they do activities like star jumps over Zoom.

“This experience has made me grateful for all of the things we once took for granted.”

source https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/being-able-stay-open-blessing-19681625

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