Muslims lend support to Welsh church appeal for Gaza

By staff writers
February 7, 2009

A Church in Wales appeal for humanitarian aid to war-damaged Gaza has received the backing of a group of young Muslims, as well as members of the public from all faiths and none.

The Young Muslim Community Organisation in Newport, South Wales, have raised more than £1,000 for a mobile dental clinic delivering frontline medical aid around the bombed out streets of the territory, following the Israeli bombardment last month.

The clinic, which has been funded totally by the Church in Wales since 2000, is part of the work of family health centres in Gaza run by the Near East Council of Churches (NECC).

The Muslim youngsters held a bazaar to raise money following an appeal by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, for urgent aid for the work of the NECC clinics.

The need for the appeal was intensified after a direct missile attack destroyed one of the family centres in Shij’ia a fortnight ago. Churches and the UN have called for an investigation

The chair of the Young Muslim Community Organisation, Ifthir Ahmed, explained that the group was pleased to support a Welsh appeal for humanitarian aid.

He said: “We read about the destruction of the family clinic and the invaluable service the mobile dental clinic provides for so many people in the Strip. We felt that some of the money we raised had to go to this very noble cause."

Ahmed continued: “The response and support we’ve had from the people of Newport has been strong. They felt the call for funds was going out to everyone in Wales, not just the parishioners of the Church in Wales, and as Welsh citizens we felt a duty to support a Welsh appeal."

He added: “It's important that the people in Wales work together when we are trying to help the victims of man-made or natural disasters so that the recipients of the aid realise it’s from the people of one nation to another, not just from charities, even though charities are the front end of providing the relief.”

Archbishop of Wales Dr Morgan responded: “We are very grateful to everyone, from many faiths and backgrounds, in Wales who are pulling together to do what they can to respond to our appeal for immediate medical supplies for the people in Gaza who are in desperate need at this time. We hope people will continue to donate to the appeal and keep the region in their prayers.”

More than 300 people attended the bazaar in January. Activities included an auction, stalls, hot food and children’s games. Members of the YMCO will present the cheque to the Assistant Bishop of Llandaff, Dr David Yeoman on Tuesday.

Over £14,000 has been raised in the past month for the Church in Wales appeal. A large number of donations have come from parishes across Wales who have held collections, coffee mornings and concerts to assist the cause.

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