This report looks at Al Manaar’s response to Grenfell, in the light of wider questions pertaining to the Muslim presence in contemporary public life. (2019)
In the crisis of Grenfell, many and different faith groups ‘stepped up to the plate’ and drew on their community presence, their resources, and, above all, their faith to deliver practical and pastoral help when and where it was most needed.
This report draws on some of the existing work done in Theos report After Grenfell, and indeed speaks to some of the same interviewees, but is focused on the question of the Muslim response to the disaster.
It explores how one specific mosque, Al Manaar, responded to the immediate tragedy – literally opening its doors, providing food, drink and shelter – and to longer term problems, through working with survivors, relatives and the wider community in a number of initiatives, including the Hubb community kitchen, a counselling service, holiday camps, and smaller support groups.
No less important, however, it explores how and why Al Manaar was able to respond in this way on account, for example, of its open doors policy; its actively having sought positive relationships with other faith groups and the wider community; its specified post of CEO that enabled a named individual to respond and coordinate as necessary; and finally its active approach to media visibility.
Grenfell was (everyone hopes) a uniquely awful tragedy and, in any case, no two such events or communities are identical. But it is hoped that the response of Al Manaar to Grenfell will offer lessons to other mosques, other faith groups and other communities in the future.