Muslims who have never given blood are being called upon to donate.
The Islamic Diversity Centre in Newcastle has arranged for a temporary donation centre in the city’s West End.
The centre’s founder, Abu Tayeb, said it was a “religious duty” for Muslims to give blood despite the possible misconception that it is forbidden in the teachings of Islam.
The NHS blood service said patients often responded better to blood from people of “the same ethnic background”.
It said only 4% of the UK population gives blood on a regular basis and the figure is lower among British Muslims.
“Maybe they’re scared of needles, maybe they don’t know where to donate, maybe they think there’s a religious reason why they cannot donate blood,” Theo Clarke from the service said.
He said many Muslims did not realise their blood was needed and said it was “important that the donor base is representative of the population”.
Mr Tayeb said the centre wanted to “challenge some of the stereotypes, remove the misconceptions”.
“Like the Koran teaches us, if you save one person it’s as if you’ve saved all of humanity, so this is a very, very important aspect of our religion,” he said.
The centre’s Islamic awareness facilitator, Daniel Johnson, said: “The best way to get people of faith to do anything good is to show them that it is something conducive to their religious values.
“I’m killing two birds with one stone, if you like – I’m doing something good in this world which I, as a Muslim, hope to benefit from in this world and in the next.”