Cardiff: Mosque sets up collection after earthquakes

Dar-Ul-Isra mosque collection

Dar-Ul-Isra mosque collection volunteers gathered donations together on Sunday

A mosque has brought its community together to fundraise and donate goods for earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey.

Dar-Ul-Isra, in the Cathays area of Cardiff has so far raised £25,000 as well as five vans of clothes and shoes to be delivered to the affected areas.

More than 28,000 people are now known to have been killed in the disaster, with hundreds of thousands homeless.

£1.9m has been raised in Wales in the past three days.

Across the UK, more than £60m has been raised as organisations came together to launch the Disaster Emergencies Committee (DEC) appeal.

Dr Mohamed Gaber, manager of the Dar-Ul-Isra mosque, said they launched the fundraising campaign in the hope of uniting people in action.

“As human beings, we need to be unified. Unfortunately, this is one of the few reasons for different nations to come together, and that is a positive part of this catastrophe,” he said.

“This is a pure humanitarian cause, apart from any ideologies or religions.”

He added that many people, not only members of the mosque or the Muslim community, had donated.

Dr Mohamed Gaber, manager of the Dar-Ul-Isra mosque

Dr Mohamed Gaber, manager of the Dar-Ul-Isra mosque, says he hopes their campaign brings people together

The mosque set a goal of raising £50,000 and has a variety of fundraising activities planned over the coming days to reach its goal. So far they have raised £25,000.

Dr Mohammad Alhadj Ali, chairman and founder of the Syrian-Welsh society, is originally from Aleppo, where his family still lives.

He said: “This is the latest chapter of the Syrian tragedy.”

Bags of donations

Dar-Ul-Isra mosque hopes the donations they have collected will reach Syria via Turkey

‘Not easy to deliver aid’

Dr Alhadj Ali, who is also a clinical lecturer at Cardiff University, organised Sunday’s clothing collection at the Dar-Ul-Isra mosque, which was specifically to help aid efforts in the north-western region of Syria.

He said people in this area are in a particularly “complex” situation.

He added: “This region is not under the regime control in Syria, and it is not under the authority of the Turkish government, so these guys are stuck in between. Also the geographical nature is really very complex, mountains and hills. It’s not easy at all to deliver the aid to them there.

“My sister lives in that region. She is in a place where 20 of her close friends all passed away, all pharmacists and doctors. She had to leave her house, it has been demolished by the earthquake.

“It has really been very difficult. But I had to make a decision, ‘will I just watch the news, or do something?'”

Dr Mohammad Alhadj Ali

Dr Mohammad Alhadj Ali, chairman and founder of Syrian-Welsh society, is hoping to help the region of Syria where his sister has been left homeless

He explained that the donations will be taken to Turkey first and then transferred via a border crossing point into Syria.

Thanking people in Wales for their support, he said: “I would like to say to the whole Welsh community, every little helps. You have been so generous. I rely on you. Diolch.”

‘Beyond comprehension’

Meanwhile, Nigel Jones, an emergency medical technician for the Welsh Ambulance Service in Monmouth has taken unpaid leave to assist in Turkey.

Along with a team of former and current military personnel and other blue light workers, he will be working for humanitarian charity RE:ACT.

Nigel Jones

Nigel Jones, from the Welsh Ambulance Service, will be going to Turkey as a medic with charity RE:ACT

Mr Jones said: “This is something I’ve never experienced before. I have been 42 years now in uniformed services – the military, the fire service and the ambulance service – so I am used to seeing quite sad occurrences, but this is beyond comprehension.

“I think I am as prepared as I can be. Volunteering has always been within me. If you’ve got the means to help and the capability to help, I think you should do.”

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