A group of Muslim volunteers has been praised for providing a free taxi service to get the elderly to a Christmas lunch in an act of festive goodwill.
Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) transported 100 pensioners from across Huddersfield in Yorkshire to several local halls for the get-together.
They brought their own transport for their act of charity which included specially adapted vans for the disabled, as many of the group were in wheelchairs or on walkers.
The volunteers then handed out gifts and posed for pictures around the tables before the group dined and were later brought back home, the Dewsbury Reporter revealed.
Nadeem Ahmed, the Yorkshire head of the AMYA, told the publication: “It was such an honour to extend a helping hand and to bring a smile to the faces of so many people.
“We felt like a family with the people we helped and that is how they felt too.
“People may wonder why we take time out to help, but we enjoy doing the voluntary work we do because it is our religious obligation. Islam encourages us to help alleviate hardships and respect and honour our elders.”
Robert Iredale, who helped organise one of the Christmas lunches at Milnsbridge Village Hall, said: “We had about 30 people and they all had a smashing time. One woman said she’d been invited to family but she came to us to see her friends.
“As an organiser the Ahmadiyya Muslims make my job easy! It is a great big help.”
“They are wonderful. All our volunteers are - this year we had to turn volunteers away! People are so generous with their time.
“It’s very easy to tell bad news, but the volunteers that help us are excellent.”
The AMYA organisation said the act of charity by their branch in Yorkshire was part of a nationwide service of goodwill the group provided on Christmas Day. It had planned to carry out 2,000 visits to vulnerable people, including in homeless shelters, to hand out warm meals and gift bags, it said.
On New Year's Day it will do a clean-up of Britain's streets, involving 500 members who will go out litter picking after 7am prayers.
The AMYA organisation said in a statement on its website: “This campaign is particularly important to us as we feel that it offers our youth vital training and personal development, which helps to shape them into productive, conscientious and well integrated members of British society.
“Moreover, it enables us to demonstrate the motto of our community: Love for all, hatred for none.”
The Ahmadiyya is a branch of Islam that follows the teachings of the Koran and the 19th century spiritual leader Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
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