TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - A Birmingham mosque has opened its doors to homeless people who are suffering in freezing temperatures on the city's streets.
Green Lane Mosque and Community Centre has launched a winter freeze project to help protect the homeless as temperatures fall to zero and below during the current cold snap.
The idea came from Humayun Saleem, head of welfare services at the centre, who is concerned about the increasing number of homeless people on the streets in the bitterly cold weather.
The project launched two weeks ago and as soon as the mosque opened its doors on the first night, four homeless people took advantage of the scheme.
One regular is a disabled man in a wheelchair. On his first night, he had made his way to the mosque by bus, accompanied by another homeless friend.
Kamran Hussain, the recently appointed general manager at the mosque, said that although many organisations are doing a great job in providing free food, the homeless need to be off the streets in this weather.
He said: "Walking around the city centre at night you see all the homeless huddled in doorways. They sleep on concrete floors in freezing temperatures.
"In Birmingham there have been cases of homeless people freezing to death and we want to help avoid this."
GLMCC are providing overnight stays in their large community hall, where they also serve food, drinks, snacks and a warm tea to those staying over.
The project is running for several weeks after which they will assess how long it will carry on.
Humayun Saleem, head of welfare services, who has been the driving force behind the project, said: "We have had local takeaways and restaurants taking part by providing free food.
"We had such a good response from our request for food from local restaurants that the volunteers have been able to go back out every evening and distribute food to the rough sleepers. On our first night, we distributed 50 food packs in minutes.
"Our service supports everyone regardless of race, creed or background. We do not discriminate. People are in need and it's our Islamic duty to help."
Source: Hawzah News Agency