Muslim charities do “tremendous work” over Christmas in the UK
The wide-ranging and often overlooked charitable work of Muslim communities in the UK is highlighted in a new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Muslims.
The report outlines the work of Muslim organizations including Penny Appeal and Muslim Aid who are involved in projects all year round, from prisoner rehabilitation, to blood donation, to supporting domestic violence victims. Over the festive season, Muslim charities and volunteers work on many interfaith initiatives such as Christmas Day soup kitchens, distributing warm clothes to homeless people, and tackling loneliness amongst the sick and elderly.
However, the report suggests that the important altruistic activity of Muslim communities is often "wilfully ignored" by the media in favor of negative coverage and stereotypes. It says "British Muslim charities haven’t received the kind of attention they deserve. At this time of year, when Muslim charities are working alongside many other faith-based charities to spread good cheer, peace on earth and goodwill to all, we hope our preliminary findings highlights and celebrates their work."
Fernando A. Lozano writes for IZA World of Labor that having religious beliefs enhances personality traits such as “strong work ethic, honesty, and cooperation.” Religious participation is also “associated with better socio-economic outcomes at the individual level.” To accrue these benefits, Lozano states that policy makers should “motivate a pluralistic religious landscape” to boost levels of religious participation in society. Lozano suggests “rejecting the idea of a state religion” and taking steps to “promote and defend spaces for religious freedom.”