TV institution to pay visit

Mohamed Mulla at the  Al-Hikmah Centre. (d630a452)
Mohamed Mulla at the Al-Hikmah Centre. (d630a452)

Makers of BBC show Songs of Praise will touch down in Batley this weekend to film a piece about a community group’s fundraising for Somerset flood victims.

The Indian Muslim Welfare Society (IMWS), based at the Al-Hikmah Centre in Track Road, helped to make £16,000 for people affected by the brutal storms which started last Christmas.

Producers of the show visited the centre last week to discuss to the film with IMWS chairman Mohamed Mulla, and will drop in on Saturday.

Mr Mulla, 56, of Dewsbury, said: “Songs of Praise are doing a piece on the different communities working together and that’s how it came about.

“I suspect because it’s around 12 months since the floods, they want to do a piece about the victims.

“When we saw the pictures of lots of houses in water and livelihoods being ruined, we reached out both nationally and internationally.

“We started an appeal through our associated mosques and managed to raise £16,000.

“The main catalyst in launching our appeal was our compassion towards the needy.

“We are strong believers in community and belonging.”

MrMulla and representatives from several mosques in Dewsbury later travelled down to the south to meet members of the Taunton and Somerset Islamic Centre, who raised money alongside them.

Mr Mulla said that he hopes the BBC coverage will have a positive effect for people in the area.

He said: “We are going to be working with the BBC and making a difference in terms of raising the profile of Muslim people in the community.”

Mr Mulla has been on the IMWS committee for 16 years and has been chairman for one.

Later on Saturday, the IMWS will celebrate their culture and heritage with a Gujarati Mushaira poetry festival, which is free and includes around 10 rectials from local performers like Sufi Manubari, Adam Tankarvi and Mahek Tankarvi. It will start at 6.30pm at the centre.

Songs of Praise, which is on BBC One, showcases hymns and tells stories about faith around the UK.

Presenters of the show include Connie Fisher, of How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? fame, and Aled Jones, who as a boy sang a cover of Walking in the Air for The Snowman.