OMA blood drives draw record turnoutsWritten by Staff Writer
Canadian Blood Services are encouraged by the "fantastic" success of their two blood clinics with the Ottawa Muslim Association (OMA) and would like to build a mutually rewarding relationship with the Muslim community, Community Development Coordinator Glen Crowe says.
Mr. Crowe credits Imam Samy Metwally with the success of the clinics. He says a similar effort involving Muslim youth a few years ago did not produce as good a response, but the two clinics arranged on Oct. 19 and Nov. 10 provided "very encouraging results."
Imam Samy and OMA President Mohammad Ghadban actively encouraged the community to participate in the blood drives. They invited all Muslim community leaders to the clinics.
In a Friday khutba (sermon), Imam Samy reminded the congregation that Islam emphasizes service to those in need and that it is the religious duty of Muslims to help humanity in general and the needy in particular.
Organisers say that so many Muslims volunteered that not all of them could be accommodated.
The first clinic produced 25 units of blood from 36 donors and the second one 23 units of blood from 27 donors, half of them women. The Muslim Students Association of the University of Ottawa played a major role in arranging the second clinic.
Encouraged by this "incredible response," Mr. Crowe stated that he would like to have the six mobile clinics in Ottawa that the Canadian Blood Services arrange annually, devoted entirely to the Muslim community.
Muslims would also be able to donate blood at non-mobile clinics of the CBS.
The blood drive project was suggested by Vice President Saad Rashid of the Muslim Coordinating Council of the National Capital Region (MCC-NCR). It was proposed as part of the council's efforts to build productive relations between Muslims and fellow Canadians of other faiths.
Under the initiative of Imam Samy and President Mohammed Ghadban, the OMA was the first Muslim organization to single-handedly undertake the project.
Mr. Rashid introduced Mr. Crowe to Imam Samy and to President Ghadban, which led to Mr. Crowe making a presentation to the "G-10" meeting of mosques and musallas (prayer spaces). The presentation drew a favourable response.
The CBS official said four Muslim organizations have approached him to make blood donation arrangements. The Muslim community is very committed to helping others, Mr. Crowe said and added that he would like to make interested Muslim organizations partners for life. This means they would have an ongoing program of blood donation.
The need for blood is acute because only some four per cent of eligible blood donors in Canada offer to donate blood, Mr. Crowe said.
Imam Samy thanked the many donors who volunteered to make the clinics a great success.
“I should thank the Muslim community and every single donor who helped in the success of these clinics. We (would) not have reached success without their contribution,” he said.
Donors have to be over 17 and under 61 years of age and free of disease. He said that 90,000 new blood donors are needed every year in order to meet the demand from hospitals.
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