Hundreds today attended a prayer service at Finsbury Park Mosque, for the victims of the recent terror attack. The event was attended by many London leaders, including the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sarah Newton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism, Dr Ahmad Al Dubayan, Director General of the London Central Mosque, Bishop Peter Broadbent, Acting Bishop of London, Councillor Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, the Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP, Member for Islington North and Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, and Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, President of the Muslim Association of Britain.
Every speaker offered condolences to the victims, especially to the family of Mr Makram Ali, who was murdered, and also offered praise and thanks to Imam Mohammed and the members of the community who prevented further violence who prevented retaliation towards the attacker, as well as to the emergency services for their prompt response. Many speakers further made the point that such non-violent responses did not just happen out of the blue, but were the work of years of community-building and peace-making between groups.
Mohammed Kozbar, Chairman and Director of the Finsbury Park Mosque, cited the Constitution of Medina as central to Islam, in proclaiming a bond between all humanity, with equal rights for all, together with the right to practise one's religion in peace. The recent crimes were hate crimes, and that terrorism had no religion. He stressed that Islamophobia is a fact, and is experienced by his and mosques throughout the country, despite the fact that they have opposed extremists such as Abu Hamsa for the last 12 years. He called for open discussion of why young Muslims turned to violence, and not to be afraid to analyse the causes.
Bishop Peter Broadbent celebrated the fact that London communities have been able to work together for the Common Good, and that this is the reality, not the hate crimes. We should resist the media myth that social problems are caused by migration, and affirmed that any scapegoating and hate crime are not done in the name of Christianity.
Several Muslim leaders paid special tribute to MP Jeremy Corbyn, who, despite his recently assumed national leadership role, has not slackened his long term support for the Muslim Community in Finsbury Park. Corbyn declared that all local communities and faith communities were united against the attempted divisions of violence, having come together in great numbers several times over the last two weeks to offer support to the mosque communities. He further thanked the Finsbury Park Mosque and Welfare House for their services to the whole community over the last decade, reiterating that such solidarity is not the fruit of a few hours, but is produced over years of service and interaction.
Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, President of the Muslim Association of Britain led the final prayers, including:
'O Allah, … Allow us to work together in that which we agree upon, and allow to pardon each other on matters we disagree … and to rejoice in that which brings us together'.
Watch a video from the event here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3r0Jlge4xk
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