Members of the Islamic Unity Society (IUS) showed their support for the National Blood Service in Bradford this week by donating blood to commemorate the holy month of Muharram.

The new-year festival commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the prophet Mohammed, and 20 new donors from the society visited the Rawson Street centre to give blood.

Tahier Tazmi, of the Society, said: "Giving blood is a subject close to my heart as I see the need for lifesaving transfusions almost every day. I want to do all I can to support the campaign.

Despite the recommendation to give blood by Muslim scholars, there is a lack of understanding of its Islamic approval. Now the National Blood Service is campaigning to break down such misconceptions and replace them with increased knowledge.

Amy Lansdown-Nasson, spokesman for the NBS, said: "We are delighted to be working with the local Muslim community in promoting blood donation at this special time and want to thank everyone for their support.

"Certain rare blood groups are more common in minority ethnic communities, so encouraging people with rarer blood types to donate is a constant challenge for the NBS.

"At the moment, only three per cent of regular blood donors are from an Asian, African and African-Caribbean background, meaning there is a real need for members of these communities to come forward and donate."

Haidar Abdali, representative of the Islamic Unity Society, said: "This day is a really positive start in encouraging more members of the Muslim community to give blood.

"We are working closely with the National Blood Service to raise awareness of blood donation, and this occasion shows that people are keen to donate. We are really pleased with how many people have signed up to give blood and look forward to more successful sessions in the future."

To be a blood donor you need to be aged 17 to 60, over 7st 12lbs and in general good health.

To find out more or to make an appointment, call 0845 7711711 or visit