Islamic school helps to make Stratford Centre a ‘safe haven’ for kids

12:42 09 April 2014

Pupils from Alif Academy with head teacher Hafiz Abdullah Muhammad at the launch of the Stratford Centre CitySafe Zone

Pupils from Alif Academy with head teacher Hafiz Abdullah Muhammad at the launch of the Stratford Centre CitySafe Zone


An Islamic school in Forest Gate took part in the launch of a “safe haven” in the Stratford Centre as part of an initiative to make Newham safe for young people.

The Alif Academy, an independent Islamic primary school in Katherine Road, helped introduce CitySafe Zone at an event at the centre attended by staff from local branches of McDonald’s and Savills estate agents.

The event was also attended by pupils from St Antony’s and St Bonaventure’s schools in Forest Gate, and by representatives from St Angela’s Church and NewVic college.

The CitySafe idea was started in 2008 by charity Citizens UK after 16-year-old Jimmy Mizen was murdered in south-east London.

More than 600 buildings across London have signed up to join the CitySafe Haven network, which aims to ensure there are safe places that provide young people with refuge if they feel threatened or are in danger.

Emmanuel Gotora, lead organiser for The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO) Newham, which ran the launch event as part of Citizens UK, said: “The launch of the CitySafe Zone event was a great way to recognise the valuable contributions Alif Academy and other local schools have made to their community.”

Alif students have already started to implement the new “zone” by removing litter and graffiti, and highlighting issues to do with alcohol abuse and gambling.

The school has also helped train managers at McDonald’s and the security team at the Stratford Centre.

Hafiz Abdullah Muhammad, Alif headteacher, said: “I am proud of our pupils in the various ways they are engaging and benefitting the wider community.

“In particular, we were able to work in partnership with local schools from other faith traditions which demonstrates that we can work together for the common good.”

Alif Academy is an independent school of 140 pupils that teaches national curriculum subjects in what it calls “a supportive Islamic environment”.

Last year the school celebrated World Peace Day and has held interfaith weeks with leaders of other religions.

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