Eid al Adha is the festival of sacrifice and this year has been one of immense sacrifice for most, if not all. From having to distance from family and not being able to worship and celebrate with our communities to putting one’s own needs and desires on the backburn in order to prioritise the COVID-19 response and supporting local communities. On behalf of the NHS, thank you for all your sacrifices and contribution during these difficult 18 months.

It’s been a week since the racial abuse started following the Euro2020 football final against England and Italy. Last week was particularly challenging for many people of colour as it was a huge reminder that despite the significant efforts, emotional and physical energy that minority groups give to this agenda, we still have so far to go.

Watching that match, most people of colour were rooting for our black brothers to excel. Out of respect and loyalty but also out of fear that if they didn’t, they’d be targeted. It’s a weight that many of our colleagues carry every day. Knowing that you’re always one slip-up away from scapegoating.

A couple of days ago the highest EU court ruled that workplaces could sack employees for wearing the hijab at work if it caused conflict. Again, disheartening to see an acceptance of discrimination in the society we live in and contribute so much to. Sadly it’s things like this that make the fight for equality and inclusion all the more harder but also necessary.

Last Eid was difficult for most people due to the ongoing persecution in Palestine. This Eid, we continue to see the impacts of islamophobia and racism. However, let’s remember the blessings that come with sacrifice and as a community, continue to rise above the hardships and fight for what we believe in – for a society, an NHS that is truly representative and inclusive of all staff.

Today, we hope you take the time to reflect on the last 18 months, the lessons they have taught us, the strength they have given us and the blessings they have showed us. We have all come so far and achieved so much. Let us celebrate that, celebrate what we have and renew our intention for the next 18 months.

Eid Mubarak from all of us at the NHS Muslim Network

COVID-19 remains a real threat. It’s important we continue to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. Please continue to act with caution and selflessness as government restrictions are lifted and get vaccinated if you have not already.

Since our relaunch in the Summer 2020, we have been extremely active in providing representation for Muslims in the NHS, raising awareness and supporting in the fight against racism, Islamophobia and health inequalities. Some of our key highlights include:

  • Our work on the COVID-19 vaccinations, including webinars and materials to support decision making on taking the vaccine, from a clinical and Islamic perspective.
  • A programme of events celebrating Black Islamic History and our black role models
  • Our guidance on prayer times, Eid and Hajj and how to support staff in the NHS
  • Our webinar celebrating Muslim Women in the NHS, as part of International Women’s Day
  • Our membership, which has grown to over 1000 members across the country.

To celebrate our fantastic achievements over the year, we will soon be publishing our Year in Review – 2020/21, which provides a high level picture of all of our activities and what we have learned. Please keep a look out for it.

Following our Year in Review, we have refreshed our priorities for the next year, which include:

  • Member Development: Providing opportunities for career development through coaching, mentoring and workshops.
  • Health Inequalities: Tackling existing inequalities in our NHS staff, promoting a healthy body and a healthy mind. 
  • Islamophobia: Tackling Islamophobia in the NHS, both direct and indirect, and understanding the root causes and lived experiences of our members.
  • Representation: Providing easier access to local representation, through our new Regional Representatives.
  • Engagement: Continuing to engage and recognising the achievements and contribution of Muslim staff in the NHS, in particular throughout the pandemic.
  • Facilities: Working to ensure that adequate multi-faith room and Wudhu facilities are put in place in NHS organisations.

As always, please contact us if you would like to get more involved in the work of the Network. 

Our co-chair Zainab Garba-Sani shares her thoughts and reflections on the year gone by, following a recent memorial for NHS staff who had sadly passed away during the pandemic

In collaboration with the London Region Vaccination Cell, we are holding our third vaccination myth busting webinar on Tuesday 27th July at 1-2pm. We will be joined by renowned speakers from BIMA (British Islamic Medical Association) and Dr Rehan Salim (a consultant gynaecologist, subspecialist in reproductive medicine and Head of IVF at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington) to talk about and answer your questions on the latest information and guidance of all the COVID-19 vaccinations and discuss concerns about women’s health especially related to fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

If there are any specific questions you would like addressed, then please do email us the questions at england.muslim1@nhs.net

27th July at 1-2pm

It’s back (by popular demand)! Next week we are hosting our 2nd virtual Eid celebration and quiz event where members will have the opportunity to catch up and get into that competitive spirit with an entertaining quiz.

Join us on the 28th by adding the reminder to your calendar. Click the link below or see the attachment for the invite.

28th July at 12-1pm

We will be pausing all Network activity throughout August, in order to give our Executive Committee, Regional Representatives and volunteers a well-deserved break and time to reflect. Any requests will be responded to in September inshaAllah.

eSwapp is a place to find and connect with NHS colleagues to swap skills and hobbies outside work hours, such as swapping meditation skills for healthy food tips, Spanish for photography, guitar for baking, and many more skills. The app was also featured on Sky News eSwapp featured on Sky News

A recent report found that British Muslims were less proportionately represented in managerial and professional occupations than any other religious group*. The Ihsaan Project is an initiative developed by a team of experienced professional Muslims who want to help support their brothers and sisters by inspiring British Muslims to excel in their careers, achieve excellence, and develop and maintain their Islamic identity in the workplace. If you would like to access free coaching on CVs, cover letters, interviews, assessment centres, career guidance and/or having an Islamic mindset in the workplace, book an appointment today. 

Lifesavers is the flagship project of the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) uniting healthcare professionals in the service of their local communities.  The Lifesavers programme equips the public with basic life support skills from learning CPR and how to manage choking and to mastering the recovery position. The program is tailored to be delivered in a culturally and faith sensitive manner to maximise participation from the BAME communities that can find it difficult to access such training.

Now in its 8th year, the program has expanded from 3 to 115+ mosques taking part across the UK and has trained over 13000 members of the public in essential lifesaving skills, since its inception in 2014. The next training will be taking part on Saturday 25th September 2021, 2pm. Join this community of lifesavers, meet other Muslims and continue to give back to society. “Whoever saves a life is as though he had saved all mankind”.  Quran 5:32

As restrictions begin to be lifted, it is important that we come out of the lockdown in a way that finds the balance between safety and a return to worshipping as normal. The following comprehensive guide has been put together with input from healthcare professionals, scholars, mosque committees, community leaders and the Muslim public.