News Update

AIMA National Mosque blood donation drive promotes diversity in Australia’s blood supply

Interview with Dr Omar Shareef

The Australian Islamic Medical Association (AIMA) in collaboration with the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, organised a blood donation drive across mosques in Australia. The fourth annual drive was successfully held on Friday February 24, 2023, in 26 mosques located across six states and territories, including regional centres and capital cities. The drive began on 1 December 2022 and will continue until 15 March 2023.

The need for blood donations is urgent, and Lifeblood requires 100,000 new donors this year to meet the growing demand for blood products. It is essential to have ethnic diversity in blood donors to match the multicultural backgrounds of Australian patients.

To address this demand, the Australian Islamic Medical Association (AIMA) organised the national blood donation drive, where congregants from various multicultural and ethnic communities were encouraged to donate blood at mosques around Australia. The drive aimed to educate people about the importance of donating blood and to encourage them to become regular donors.

Omar Shareef, AIMA Queensland vice-president, coordinated the blood drive with the Islamic Medical Association of Queensland (IMAQ) across the 10 participating mosques in Queensland. He spoke to ABC Radio Brisbane about the drive’s significance.

“The congregations at the mosques have several different multicultural and ethnic communities, and some people from these different backgrounds don’t know what happens to the donations, and Lifeblood explains their purpose,” he said.

“We are also practising our gratitude behaviours of giving back to the community, which is emphasised significantly in Islamic teaching.”

“Giving blood can be a form of Zakat or charity, a form of giving back from what Allah has given.” Kamal Hamed, Shaykh at Rahma Mosque in Sydney said to SBS Radio. “In the past this was almost taboo, No one understood how to react by giving blood. But now I believe the majority of the Muslims have this understanding that it is permissible.”

Dr Muhammad Kahloon, President of AIMA, emphasised the importance of cohesion and giving back to the community through blood donations, especially in light of the growing diversity of the Australian population.

“We talk about cohesion and having a cohesive society. What better can be that than the blood to donate and to help others?” he said.

“It can save somebody’s young child. It can save a mother who is bleeding after the baby’s delivery. It can save somebody’s sole breadwinner. The best way to help the society, help the sick ones, help the needy ones. is to donate blood. Blood makes a difference, and that difference is between life and death.”

Dr Habib Bhurawala, AIMA Vice-President, stresses the importance of having a diverse population donate blood in Australia. He says, “We have to acknowledge that because of the growing diversity of the Australian population, there is a need to have a diverse population donating blood to match some of the rare blood types.”

Saad Qureshi, a 19-year-old donor, expressed his joy and fulfilment in donating plasma for the first time. He says, “It’s like you can’t describe in words, but you can feel the feeling in your heart that you’re helping so many people, and my parents, they came as immigrants and now we’re part of a bigger community that helps Australia, helps our home.”

26-year-old Kiran Qayyum has been donating blood for six years and says it impacts many areas of her life. She says, “Knowing that I’m eligible to donate blood means that I can do this for my faith, but also, it’s something that will directly impact my community as well. It’s important that, you know, we give back in the community when we can because the next day it could be someone that we love who needs a blood donation.”

The successful blood donation drive by AIMA and the Australian Red Cross has received significant media coverage, including radio interviews in ACT, Townsville, Rockhampton, Gold Coast, and Newcastle, as well as on SBS TV. AIMA was also awarded a Champion Shield by the Australian Red Cross for the Muslim community’s contribution to donating blood and saving lives.

The blood drive was held in mosques across various locations, including Mayfield Mosque, Newcastle Mosque, Rutherford Mosque, Taree mosque, Tamworth mosque, Port Macquarie mosque, Coffs Harbour mosque, Masjid Al Rahma, Masjid Bilal, Rooty Hill Masjid, Quakers Hill Masjid in NSW, Melbourne grand mosque, Virgin Mary Mosque, and Al Taqwa in Victoria, and Algester, Kuraby, Holland Park, Slacks Creek, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Rockhampton, McKay, Townsville, and Cairns in Queensland.

By donating blood, people can make a significant impact on their communities and help those in need. The need for blood donations doesn’t stop, and everyone is encouraged to donate regularly to save lives.

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