Reimagining British Muslims
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Thursday 4th June 2020
Opinion

Friday, May 15th, 2020

The lockdown – that we are now slowly coming out of – has changed the way many of us have looked upon how we live. Everything has slowed down, we have come to value things that before we took for granted, we have re-evaluated our lives. And we are thinking about how we live, how we spend, how we work.

Social norms especially in our British culture are changing. It will be a while before shaking hands becomes normal again, wearing masks in public has become part of the new ‘normal’, even working from home is now suddenly so much more possible.

Companies, faith organisations and families are all going to re-evaluate how they do things. But perhaps what I find most interesting having worked in the charity sector for most of my life is the way in which we have affirmed our connectivity at this time of unexpected crisis. I was really heartened to see so many people volunteer at this time: whether it is providing food for the isolated or supporting our health care services, we showed that when we were challenged our natural inclination towards humanity emerged.

Being ‘locked up’ has also meant that we have a greater value for own freedom which I am sure we will appreciate so much more once the lockdown eventually ends. We will perhaps feel more for those that have been in lockdown for months or even years.

Coronavirus came and rendered us helpless. We struggled, many fell ill and many have died. Even our Tory government which models itself on self-sufficiency and independence fell to its knees, as it has repeatedly called for public understanding and support. Even the leaders of our government have at times looked like they have felt helpless.

In my work with Muslim charities, I have supported many people through the decades through this feeling of helplessness. There will be many lessons to learn in the future as we look back on this period. One, I hope, will be that we will all look on others in need with a greater sense of appreciation and feeling.

Dr Hany el Banna OBE is the founder of Islamic Relief. He is the chair of Muslim Charities Forum and President of the Humanitarian Forum. His youtube channel is available here.

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Hany el Banna

Dr Hany el Banna OBE is the founder of Islamic Relief. He is the chair of Muslim Charities Forum and...
read more about Hany el Banna