(Latest News: As of the 25th of July 2017, this arson attack has now been confirmed as a hate crime.)
They Marched Against Extremism & Suffered an Arsonists Hatred
On the 15th of July 2017, the NASFAT family of mosques walked towards their national peace rally in Trafalgar Square. A deeply spiritual group who believe in community and family, this predominantly African group of social activists and organisers came to show their support against extremism and against groups like Boko Haram. One of their banners read, "Say no to extremism", whilst another read"No to Boko Haram." They marched, they stood tall with their voices resonating in the Centre of London and with pride in their steps. Their faith and their beliefs had led them on a journey against extremism and intolerance.
Since 9/11 and 7/7 many have asked Muslims to speak up and speak out. Well, on a summer's afternoon, here were Muslims of African heritage, a minority within a minority, who came from Manchester and various parts of the country to stand against extremism and intolerance. At the heart of their message was one which stood in solidarity with all communities who believe in a better future, where women and young people are not drawn into, abducted into or brainwashed into hatred and extremism.
Attacked by an Arsonist Filled With Hate
24 hours later, the NAFSAT Community Centre in Manchester was ablaze. 5 fire engines could do nothing to reduce the damage. Training rooms were gutted, the Centre reduced to a shell and the rooms in which placards were put together against extremism, now stood empty and blackened by the hatred of someone who believed that this community should have no space to live free from fear in their local area. How can we accept that?
The NAFSAT Centre in Manchester had reported multiple anti-Muslim hate crimes against the centre to Tell MAMA, the national anti-Muslim hate monitoring project. Letters of hate, pig's heads and a torched minibus have affected this law abiding British Muslim community of African heritage, just because they are perceived to be different. The centre has suffered overt racism and anti-Muslim hatred and women at the centre have also been targeted for being visible Muslim women. Gender, anti-Muslim and racist hatred have affected users of the NASFAT Community Centre, yet the patience of this community has meant that they have absorbed such hatred with dignity and patience. How can we allow such hatred and intolerance to continue on?
You Can Send A Message That They Matter.
Though YOU can make a difference. You can send out a message to those who think that they can intimidate communities through racism, prejudice and intolerance. You can send out a message that the NAFSAT Community Centre in Manchester will rise again. For even as the centre users surveyed the ashes of their centre, young men in cars jeered at the them from passing cars. "We don't want you here", they barked at the women who had come to see their local centre reduced to a charred skeleton of what they had invested decades into.
So stand with us; stand with those who march against extremism and hatred; stand with the users of the Nafsat Centre who have lost their Centre; stand with them and rebuild their Centre as a symbol against intolerance, hatred and prejudice in our country. Your support and your support alone can raise the NAFSAT Community centre from the ashes of hatred.
What Will Your Donation Do?
Your donation will:
- Give this much marginalised community hope that others care and stand with them. It will rebuild a focal point of their lives, the NAFSAT Centre. This Centre is at the heart of this community.
- It will REBUILD a sense of community and send a powerful message that racists, haters and those who seek to divide will not shape our society.
- It will allow for the refurbishment of the Centre which has been completely gutted. The centre is charred and blackened and we want to get it back to its previous life where social events, community engagements and young children smiled and ran carefree without any sense that they were different.
- Ensure that we open a newly refurbished centre within 8-12 months. Many people have felt that at certain points in their lives that they did not fit in, whether in school, social activities, circles of friends or even in relationships. Imagine having to put up with this for years and where it becomes a normal part of the day. We simply cannot accept this and the change is in your hands and through your support.
- Finally, your support will send a message that black, white or brown, we stand together. #westandtogether.
Your generosity must not be taken for granted. Your hard earned money will be spent on the following and we will keep you updated on developments.
If you are partners in this project to get a community on its feet, then let's do this together, side by side and with you actively involved in seeing what impact we all bring to this project and to some of the most marginalised members of our society.
Stand with the users of this centre. Stand with us to send a message that everyone in our country deserves a space to survive and thrive. Stand with us to send a message that we will not allow communities to be intimidated or targeted because of who they are.
|Clean up, structural checks, electrical re-wiring, design costs, internal refit and refurbishment, including overhaul of capital security measures where possible. In essence, the whole centre needs a complete overhaul because of the arson attack||£40,000|
|Rental costs so that the community can book rooms in the meantime and hold local events. They deserve to have the space to carry on with their essential community development and support work for communities of West African heritage in Manchester. It will take at least a year for the refurbishment of the NAFSAT Centre and this support will be much needed||£3,000|
|Purchase of capital items, such as computers, furniture, cabinets etc||£7,000|