Members of Newcastle’s Islamic Diversity Centre (IDC) have taken part in a group blood donation session to encourage people from ethnic minorities to give blood.
Around 20 Muslim men and women, most of whom had never given blood before, took part in a blood drive at Westgate Community College.
The group were made up of different ethnicities including African, South Asian and white British.
Asian members said the current lack of blood donations from their communities comes, at least in part, from a lack of awareness about the need for blood from ethnic minorities.
IDC director Abu Tayeb said: “We know there is a massive shortage of blood types from those from the African and South Asian ethnicities and so we’re trying to encourage the local Muslims to become a bit more active and take that social responsibility of giving their blood.”
Rare blood types like B and U are more common among people of South Asian, African and Afro-Caribbean origin.
NHS figures suggest that around 7,000 blood donations from people of these ethnicities are needed every day, but only 200 are made daily.
The IDC’s blood donation session follows its ‘Muslim Snow Patrol’ initiative in which members cleared drives in Newcastle’s West End after heavy snowfall in January 2013.
The IDC carries out regular social activities with the aims of undertaking positive work in the community and challenging negative stereotypes about Muslims.
Mr. Tayeb added: “[Some people think] Muslims are terrorists or their women are oppressed. This blood donation can hopefully challenge that stereotype.
“We’re just like everyone else and we have a social responsibility which is fuelled by what Islam teaches us to do.”