Blackburn Christmas charity helps Muslim children at Eid

A charity which gives Christmas presents to disadvantaged children is helping to provide hundreds of Muslim youngsters in need with Eid gifts.

Secret Santa delivers about 750 sacks of toys and gifts to children in Blackburn and Darwen in Lancashire.

Phil Boulding, who set it up, said the “unbelievable generosity” of the Muslim community in the area had inspired a similar campaign – Secret Sheikh.

Working with charity One Voice, 520 people will receive Eid gifts.

Mr Boulding said 300 gift bags would be delivered to disadvantaged or sick children later and 50 would go to elderly people in time for Eid celebrations.

‘Returning the favour’

There will also be 120 given out at a party in Blackburn on Friday and 50 in Darwen.

Mr Boulding said he “wanted to return the favour” as the Muslim community in Blackburn donated so generously to the Secret Santa campaign, for “humanitarian reasons not religious”.

Zaffer Khan, from One Voice Blackburn, said the joint effort had “brought warmth to my heart”.

He said the charity supported Secret Santa because it was “such a fantastic cause and we love Christmas just as much as anyone and loved the concept of helping people who are the most disadvantaged”.

Mr Khan welcomed the idea to launch a similar campaign for the Muslim festival.

“Being disadvantaged doesn’t come with any religious context,” he said.

“We rebranded it as Secret Sheikh and it has been well received by all communities, which is not surprising at all.”

He said the success of the project “affirmed” how well communities worked together in Blackburn.

Eid al-Fitr is “the feast of the breaking of the fast” that begins when the moon rises on the final day of Ramadan.

Ramadan lasts between 29 and 30 days, depending on the lunar calendar.

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