Thursday Mar 01, 2018
MANCHESTER: A mosque in Oldham is operating as an overnight shelter for anyone in need of refuge from the streets during the severe conditions which has hit Greater Manchester since Monday and will last throughout the week.
European Islamic Centre (EIC) is one of the largest Muslim facilities in the northwest, which can accommodate up to 5,000 worshipers. They also have spare rooms to accommodate the homeless.
While speaking exclusively to Geo.tv, the centre’s imam, Mohammed Iqbal, said, “If there is need we will be open throughout the night and until needed. We have provided warm clothes to many homeless people but last night we realised those clothes aren’t going to be enough so we now want to open our doors because they too deserve to stay in a place that is warm.”
He added, “This year, the weather has been really bad, the number of rough sleepers in the town has grown immensely so we really felt like this was the right thing to do.”
On average, the mosque will shelter 10 to 15 people per night, including many youths. They will be kept company overnight by volunteers.
“Volunteers are primarily youth themselves, they wanted to help because they have heard about the homeless crisis in Greater Manchester and fentanyl death,” Iqbal said.
“If you know anyone who is homeless and sleeping out, then ring or bring them to EIC and we will provide them with shelter and food.”
The ‘Beast from the East’ has hit Greater Manchester, bringing snow and bitterly cold temperatures to the region. The polar blast from Siberia has seen temperatures dip to around -6C. It is reported to be the coldest February in five years.