Barking mosque launches community counselling service

PUBLISHED: 12:11 09 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:11 09 February 2016

Hafsa Kanwal, Mohammed Kamran and Asma Anwar launch the advisory service at Al Madina Mosque in Barking

Hafsa Kanwal, Mohammed Kamran and Asma Anwar launch the advisory service at Al Madina Mosque in Barking


A mosque in Barking has launched a range of advisory and counselling services to try and get the community to cope with things together.

Advisory volunteers Asma Anwar, Hafsa Kanwal and Mohammed KamranAdvisory volunteers Asma Anwar, Hafsa Kanwal and Mohammed Kamran

Secretary of Al Madina mosque, in Victoria Road, Ash Siddique, 48, embarked on a £12,000 counselling course with Christina Rowe, 50, about four years ago, in a pioneering move for the group.

Now fully-trained, the pair offer a private and confidential service for anyone that needs it, regardless of faith or background.

“Muslim communities can be very insular when they deal with a variety of issues,” Ash explained.

“There’s this ‘We want to deal with it as a family and we won’t ask others for help’ sort of attitude.

“We wanted to show that there’s no harm in asking for help and often it can be hugely beneficial.”

The service has been on offer for the past four months and has already helped a range of people dealing with things such as suicidal thoughts, homosexuality in Islam and prostitution.

“We’re providing an emotional outlet for people where they can come without being judged,” added Christina, a drug and alcohol counsellor for the NHS.

“As a community we have been used to bottling things up, but somewhere down the line it has to come out.”

Alongside the counselling service, the mosque have also launched a free, impartial, community advisory service.

Run by a team of 15 volunteers, anyone can access advice about a range of issues such as landlord-tennant disputes, immigration advice or how to fill in a form.

Pharmacy student Hafsa Kanwal, 22, is one of the volunteers.

“This community has given me a lot, so I wanted to offer my help to those that need it,” she said.

“There’s also a pleasure and reward in helping people.”

Although the advisory service runs every Monday from 5pm to 8pm, both services are available 24 hours a day.

For more information about the counselling service email or call 07985747277.

For more information about the advisory service email or call 07412958588.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Barking and Dagenham Post. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Related articles

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Barking and Dagenham Post