“As a community, we want to give back for what we have gained here”While many New Year’s Eve revellers were waking up to a hangover, members of a local mosque were busy taking to the streets to “give back to the people of Liverpool”. Equipped with bin bags, litter-picking sticks, and high-vis jackets, 28 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association came together on a rainy New Year’s Day to clean up the area around the Botanic Park in Wavertree. Starting the day at 6am members of the AMYA prayed at their mosque on Breck Road before taking to the streets. Imam of the mosque Noman Ahmed said the annual event is to “give back” to Liverpool for the “religious freedom” they have found here.
Speaking to the ECHO he said: “New Year is usually celebrated with partying but we have been taught differently. We have been told that we should go out as a community and start the day with prayers.”We start the day not with partying but in a positive way to show that we did good work last year and we are going to do better this year. As a community, we want to give back for what we have gained here.”The community is forbidden to call itself Muslim in Pakistan and is not allowed to practice the religion. Some members of the AMYA are from Pakistan and have sought refuge from religious persecution. Noman said: “We have come to England and we have been given freedom of speech and freedom of faith. So for us, this is a way of giving back to the community.
“It is part of our religion that we love where we live and we should love the country we live in. It is a way of showing sincerity so we do this every year.” However, this is not just a one-time event for the AMYA. Throughout the year the mosque hosts charity events throughout the city. While many in Liverpool would never give up the chance for a New Year’s night out, those at the AMYA think a little differently. Member of the AMYA Tahir Laeeq said: “Everyone has their own ways of getting joy out of life and we are having just as much fun as everybody else. All the boys are here and we have been having a laugh. So we get so much joy out of this.”