Donating blood contributes to healthier, less divisive society: advocate

“We want to show everybody that Muslims care,” said Dr. Abbas Hammoud, about the blood drive held at GLOBULE Versailles. It's part of Muslim Awareness Week in Montreal, with events running until Feb. 13. Diona Macalinga reports.

At a time when blood donations are low, Muslim associations in Montreal are hoping to do their part to change that.

A blood drive took place Sunday at Globule Versailles at the Place Versailles shopping center.

It was part of Muslim Awareness Week, which included commemorations for the sixth anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting.

“Blood normally is associated with terror attacks and with victims,” said Dr. Abbas Hammoud, a Muslim Awareness Week board member. “We want to change this towards a positive light. We want to change this towards helping others… And we want to show everybody that Muslims care.

“If you bring the same blood and you put it at the crime scene, people will get afraid. If you bring this same blood through a needle being transfused to another patient, that’s a sign of hope.”

man donating blood

Dr. Abbas Hammoud, a Muslim Awareness Week board member, donating blood on Jan. 29, 2023. (Credit: CityNews/Diona Macalinga)


After the 2017 mosque shooting in the province’s capital, several Muslim associations in Montreal formed Muslim Awareness Week – a week for Muslim Montrealers to connect and help other Quebec communities in need.

“What happened at Quebec City, it’s extremely painful,” said Hammoud.

“It was an act of Islamophobia, which was fuelled by hate speeches, by false information. I believe that this is a way where society won’t be built if we continue this way. This is a way where societies are destroyed and broken apart.

“We should work together in order to stop this from happening ever again. We should work together in order to start looking at society members as human beings.”

Héma-Québec says one way the community can come together is to help with the shortage of blood donations in Quebec.

“Quebec is made out of different communities,” said Josée Larivée, a spokesperson for Héma-Québec. “These weeks of awareness that are organized everywhere are a good way to reach out to different populations and remind them that their blood is important to the national blood reserve of Quebec.”

Hafsa Warrach, the a Muslim Awareness Week coordinator, after donating blood on Jan. 29, 2023. (Credit: CityNews/Diona Macalinga)

Hammoud says giving blood can be a uniting act.

“I believe we are part of society,” he said. “So in terms of patients, Muslim patients or Christian patients or whatever patients, they are considered patients. So giving blood to anyone is like giving blood to a Muslim patient or to Christian patients or to a Jewish patient. It doesn’t matter. I believe that it’s contributing to make people have hopefully a healthier life.

“This is really important in order to build a better society.”

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