23 May marked a significant inter-faith event in multi-racial Singapore. Together with Health Science Authority (HSA) and Red Cross, CHCSA jointly organized a blood donation drive with Assyakirin Mosque and City Harvest Church.
The blood donation drive came about under the Rahmatan Lil Alamin (Blessings to All) project – a community service to bless all races and communities, which MUIS participated during the Aceh tsunami and Sichuan earthquake.
The Chairman Executive of Assyakirin Mosque, Suhaimi Mustar, 43, shared with City News how he first felt nervous being a first-time blood donor, but after he had done it, relished the joy of donating.
Suhaimi said, “I wanted to kickstart a project, but friends suggested it may not be effective to do this alone. Then we remembered a past event with City Harvest during Family Day last year. I heard from colleagues that City Harvest is a very strong organization with lots of members. That’s when we think that regardless of religions, we live in a multi-racial country, we are all brothers. We want to work with any other organization, locally or internationally, be it churches, temples or others.”
Norhalizah Rosley, 26, from Assyakirin Mosque, first knew about City Harvest Community Services Association (CHCSA) through a friend. Surfing to CHCSA’s website, she emailed and got in touch with the organizers there. “This is our first blood donation project. Partnership with CHCSA means good harmony with other religions. We should do more on a MUIS cluster level, involve more mosques, and with other religious bodies.”
“Assyakirin Mosque serves as the Centre for Islamic civilization. We screen documentaries to showcase Islamic civilization to modern society. Hence you not only donate blood but get to understand Islamic civilization and its history as well.”
CHCSA started their blood donation drives in 2000. Executive Director, Darryl Loh hopes to jointly organize more blood donation drives with mosques, temples and other religious bodies. Assyakirin is the third mosque CHCSA has collaborated with to date.
CHCSA Programme Manager, Irene Ho, commented, “A multi-religious blood donation drive is a good cause, both to save lives and foster religious harmony. So people will be aware of the various faiths and cultures.”
Lim Idy, Donor Manager for the Singapore Red Cross Society, hopes to see more multi-racial blood donation drives. She congratulated Assyakirin Mosque for successfully hosting it for the first time. “This is a convenient location to donate blood and a good coverage for this neighbourhood.”
She also thanked CHCSA for providing pre-registration projections before the actual event. “For a successful donation, we must have a turn-out of 140 people, to hit a target of 100 units of blood per drive,” she said.
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One first-time donor, Aisyah Bte Abdul Razak told City News, “I hope to donate blood more. It’s a great partnership between the mosque and church. Commendable efforts by both for religious harmony.”
Grace Tay, another first-time donor commented, “This is a breakthrough, to get people from outside into a mosque. We should not be reserved and should not harbor the attitude of not supporting other religions.”
Abdul Rais Bin Ahmad, 41, board member of Assyakirin Mosque and Vice-Chairman of Inter-Racial Confidence Circle (IRCC) for Taman Jurong CC, has donated blood over 20 times, since he was a schoolboy. “I often head down to Bloodbank@HSA. Donating blood is to save lives, it’s a good cause. This event raises awareness and is a good showcase to the community that inter-religious understanding exists. It is not about a mosque standing on its own, but an inter-faith thing we help each other with.”