A BRADFORD Mosque and community centre has donated thousands of pounds worth of food, drink and PPE to NHS staff at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), to assist in the coronavirus relief effort.

Salahadin Mosque, which is run by the West Yorkshire Kurdish Community Association, made the charitable donation on Tuesday, donating snacks, hot and cold beverages and 2,000 face masks to staff at BRI.

Members of the Mosque, which is on Little Horton Lane, got in touch with BRI to ask if they could offer a helping hand, and after the hospital responded with a list of items in need, the Salahadin Mosque then spent around £3,000 on essentials, said one of its members, Hawker Hussain.

“The Kurdish community has been here in Bradford for a long time now, so we wanted to help the NHS and give something back”, Mr. Hussain said.

“Everyone in the community was really happy to come forward and donate, including some local Kurdish businesses. We all wanted to benefit the NHS.

“BRI sent us a list of things after I emailed them, with things like food, coffee, cleaning products, masks and shampoo.

“The 2,000 masks were kindly donated by a local Kurdish businessman and we also had a lot of help from members of the Mosque, including Yasen Karim and Awat Abdallah.

“We spent around £3,000 on the items, but we still have some money left - we would love to donate to the ambulance service or to care homes, so we welcome people to get in touch.

“Insha’Allah [‘God-willing’] our support isn’t going to end - we’re going to keep helping and working together as long as people need help.

The Salahadin Mosque, which Mr. Hussain says was established over ten years ago, is considered to be a vital hub for Bradford’s Kurdish community.

The number of Kurds in Bradford is difficult to estimate, given that Kurdish was not listed as an ethnic category in the most recent UK census, but Kurdish was revealed to be Bradford’s tenth most spoken language in the 2011 census, with over 1,200 speakers in the district.

This number is believed to have increased in the years since, with many Kurdish people arriving in Bradford as refugees and as economic migrants. Mr. Hussain estimates that there are “four to five thousand” Kurds living in Bradford.

Kurdish people hail from Kurdistan, a region in the Middle East spanning parts of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, which has its own distinct culture, language and national identity.

Many Kurds have had to flee their homeland due to persecution and human rights abuses, and have been described by some as the world’s largest ethnic group without a state.

Bradford Labour MP Naz Shah was at BRI on Tuesday, when the donations were handed over, and said, “It is really important that communities across the Bradford district step up and play their part during this crisis. Therefore, we are very grateful and thankful to the Kurdish community for their generous effort to support our NHS.

“Bradford Royal Infirmary has a huge significance in the Bradford district, so this is an amazing gesture which is very much appreciated, and shows the spirit of unity and communities coming together.

“The Kurdish community in Bradford are almost a minority within a minority, and the efforts they have made demonstrates that minority communities can play a huge role, which is what makes the fabric of Bradford and shows that diversity is a huge strength of our city.”

Inayah Sher, of Bradford4Better, who helped to co-ordinate with the Salahadin Mosque, said, “The members of the Salahadin Mosque are immensely charitable, as many of them are recent migrants who live on the poverty line. They are an example to us all, on how to be truly charitable.

“This is a gigantic donation and the actions of the Kurdish community here are truly inspiring.”