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Friday, 19 October, 2001, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
Imams asked to preach heart health
Worshippers at mosque
Worshippers may be given a heart message
Muslim clerics are being recruited to educate worshippers at UK mosques on the dangers posed by heart disease.

The British Heart Foundation has launched a campaign in the run-up to the Ramadan holy month, which starts in November.

South Asians appear to be particularly vulnerable to coronary heart disease - in fact, they are 50% more likely to die from it.

Imams are being trained on heart health issues, particularly diet and smoking cessation.


Islam teaches respect for life and health and places a great deal of emphasis on the importance of both physical and spiritual health

Habib Ur-Rehman
Imam of Glasgow Central Mosque
Smoking is one of the leading causes of coronary heart disease, and surveys suggest half of all Bangladeshi men, and a third of Pakistani men, smoke.

Once the training is complete, it is hoped that Imams can spread the message in their mosques during Ramadan, when it is thought that they will be fuller than normal.

Video help

Habib Ur-Rehman, the Imam of Glasgow Central Mosque, said: "I'm very pleased to be part of this initiative as Islam teaches respect for life and health and places a great deal of emphasis on the importance of both physical and spiritual health.

"Ramadan is an ideal time for this campaign to begin so we wholly support this initiative."

A video extolling the advantages of quitting smoking is being launched in five Asian languages.

This is primarily aimed at health professionals working with Asian people but will also be useful for Asian patients.


The best way to improve people's lives is to help them to help themselves

Mohamed Sarwar MP
The Muslim MP Mohamed Sarwar helped launch the campaign in Glasgow on Friday.

He said: "The best way to improve people's lives is to help them to help themselves.

"This unique initiative by the British Heart Foundation and Asian Quitline provides the Muslim community with the necessary information and support to take control of their health."

Ramadan is considered the most holy festival in Islam.

It involves approximately a month of fasting during daylight hours.

Asian Quitline can be reached on the following numbers: Bengali 0800 002244 (1pm-9pm Monday) Gujarati 0800 002255 (1pm-9pm Tuesday) Hindi 0800 002266 (1pm-9pm Wednesday) Punjabi 0800 002277 (1pm-9pm Thursday) Urdu 0800 002288 ( 1pm-9pm Sun).

See also:

12 Feb 01 | Health
Smoking on the increase
24 Jan 01 | Health
Ethnic health inequalities
08 Aug 01 | Health
Drive to cut Asian smoking
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