We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, set up to support those affected by the arena attack, has now reached £18m
Founded in the nineties by a group of local businessman, professionals and community figures in order to ‘bridge the growing divide between Muslims and non-Muslims', it’s particularly symbolic that in a time of growing distrust and racially-provoked violence, Manchester's British Muslim Heritage Centre has announced a substantial donation (£14k) towards the We Love Manchester Emergency fund, set up to support victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack.
The centre, located in a grade II listed Gothic building (1843) in Whalley Range - formerly the GMB National College - was established to celebrate Islam’s rich and diverse heritage, yet the BMHC website states that atrocities over the last decade and growing 'suspicion and fear' of Muslims has made this a challenge.
Figures stated by the centre include a study which found that three quarters of non-Muslims believe Islam has provided a negative contribution to British society, while 63% of people did not disagree with the statement “Muslims are terrorists”.
The British Muslim Heritage Centre aims to challenge such perceptions positively and tackle the ignorance that leads to associating a whole faith with the actions of a minority.
Following May’s attack, the centre was one of institutions citywide to hold vigils and prayers for the victims and their families, as well as celebrating the courage and sacrifice of Manchester’s emergency services and the unification of its communities.
Meanwhile, a 'Muslims for Manchester' collection set up by the centre has raised £14,000 towards the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.
"Manchester is a city of many different people and many different communities and this diversity is one of our strengths.
Thanks to this and other generous donations from the public, the fund has now reached £18m; £10m of which has already been distributed to the bereaved families and to people who were hospitalised following the attack on Ariana Grande’s concert.
The trustees are now working with the NHS, the police and other organisations to determine how to use the rest of the fund to best help people affected by the suicide bomb, which killed 22 people and injured 250 others.
Nasar Mahmood, chair of the BMHC said: “The BMHC has a proud record of working to counter extremism and terror in all its forms. As one of the major Muslim organisations in the region we feel it is our responsibility not only to do all we can to stand in the face of terror, but to also give all the support we can to the victims and their families. We are proud to have raised £14,000, which we hope will go some way to support the victims and their families.”
Cllr Sue Murphy, chair of trustees at the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund said: “I would like to say a big thank you to the British Muslim Heritage Centre for raising this amazing amount of money.
"Manchester is a city of many different people and many different communities and this diversity is one of our strengths. The response to attack has been one overwhelming solidarity and generosity that shows the true spirit of our city. This money will make a real difference to people’s lives.”