News: Young Muslims give blood to mark Muharram

Tuesday, 11 Nov 2014

Young British Muslims are being urged to give blood as part of a national campaign for the holy month of Muharram - the Islamic new year.

The Islamic Unity Society, a national charity which engages with Muslim students and young professionals, is working with NHS Blood and Transplant, to encourage new and existing blood donors to attend special sessions during November and December.

Dr Marwan Al-Dawoud, founder of the Islamic Unity Society’s blood donation campaign said: 'There is a verse in the Qur’an which tells us ‘whoever saves one life, it is as if he has saved the whole of mankind’. A single blood donation has the potential to save or improve up to three lives. An important part of our faith as Muslims is to contribute to the society we live in and this blood donation campaign encourages people to do just that.'

The society - which set up the annual blood drive in 2006 – hopes to encourage a record number of donors to attend sessions taking place across the country through November and December.

Theo Clarke, NHS Blood and Transplant National BAME Marketing Manager said: 'It’s great to have this opportunity to work with the local Muslim community to promote blood donation at this special time and we thank them for their support. Often, rare blood groups are more common within certain ethnic groups, and ensuring stocks of these rarer blood types is a constant challenge. This campaign is an important part of boosting life-saving blood supplies and has become a really vital part of our calendar of work to meet the needs of patients requiring blood.'

Across England and North Wales 4% of the population are active blood donors - only 4% of this number coming from black, asian and minority ethnic communities.

Anyone aged between 17 and 65, generally in good health and weighing more than 7st 12lbs, could potentially become a blood donor and help to save lives.

To find out more about the Islamic Unity Society campaign and to book a donation appointment visit www.ius.org.uk/giveblood

  • For further information or to arrange case study/ spokespeople interviews please contact maggie.stratton@nhsbt.nhs.uk / 01923 367609/ 07808906440
  • For out of hours enquiries please call: 0117 969 2444

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Notes to Editors

  • The Islamic Unity Society (IUS) is an independent registered charity set up in 1995, run solely by volunteer students and young professionals. The Imam Hussain Blood Donation Campaign was started in 2006 by young Muslims in Manchester. The campaign is part of the Islamic Unity Society (IUS) Community projects, focusing on providing innovative ways of integrating Muslim communities within the wider British society and it is now the biggest nationwide campaign in the UK aiming to increase the numbers of blood donors from Muslim communities.
  • NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. Its remit includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England and North Wales. It is also the organ donor organisation for the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs
  • Donors can search for sessions, change their contact details, book appointments and change/cancel their appointments in real time on www.blood.co.uk
  • There are apps available for Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices which enable donors to search for sessions based on your location, book and manage appointments.
  • NHSBT’s donor line - 0300 123 23 23 - is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with all calls charged at the standard local rate, even from mobile phones
  • NHSBT collects 1.8 million units of blood each year from over 23,000 blood donation sessions in more than 3,000 venues
  • Only four per cent of the eligible population are active blood donors
  • A unit of blood is measured as 470mls (or just under a pint)
  • There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. Group O is the most common and therefore the most in demand. A regular supply of blood is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7 days.
  • Female whole blood donors can give blood every 16 weeks, while male blood donors must wait 12 weeks between donations. Platelets can be donated every 2 weeks.