British mosques hold open day after Paris attacks

By AFP
Published: February 1, 2015
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LONDON: Some 20 mosques in Britain were opening their doors to the public Sunday in an unprecedented gesture of reassurance following last month’s attacks in Paris.

Visitors will be served tea and cakes by members of the mosque community who will answer questions about Islam, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) umbrella group which is organising the initiative said in a statement.

Participating mosques include Finsbury Park in north London, where Abu Hamza — jailed in the US last month for the deadly kidnapping of Western tourists in Yemen plus terrorism offences — was once imam.

The Finsbury Park Mosque has since undergone a change of leadership and ethos and now stresses community relations and interfaith dialogue.

But in the wake of the Paris attacks which killed 17 people, it has received a string of threatening letters and emails, its secretary-general, Mohammed Kozbar, told Sky News television recently.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s government sent a letter to Muslim leaders following the Paris attacks urging them to “explain and demonstrate how faith can be part of British identity” and suggesting there was “more work to do” in fighting extremism.

This prompted an angry response from the MCB, which questioned whether the government was aligning itself with the far-right by suggesting that Muslims were “inherently apart from British society”.

Around five percent of people in England and Wales are Muslim, according to a 2011 census, and there are around 1,700 mosques across Britain.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Stranger
    Feb 1, 2015 - 7:59PM

    Welcome move .openness will bring fresh air and thoughts . Suspicions and intrigues will die down .

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  • hzr
    Feb 1, 2015 - 10:22PM

    ‘There are around 1,700 mosques across Britain……’ and how many churches or prayer areas are there for denominations of other faiths in muslim lands???

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  • Meshuga
    Feb 2, 2015 - 1:01AM

    I am not sure if this will counteract the damage being done by the 24/7 TV and radio channels broadcasting from Britain of hatred against native British people and their government and demanding that sharia law be imposed. (A post-Charlie Hebdo BBC documentary on extremist British Muslim immigrants showed these broadcasts made by the Muslim-owned channels in Britain.) The decision time to fish or cut bait on immigration from non-European non-Christian countries is now for Britain and all the Western countries facing a potential sectarian threat. Charlie Hebdo was a wakeup call.

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  • salman
    Feb 2, 2015 - 1:52AM

    @hzr:
    Depends on which Muslim land you are asking about. Answer is from zero to many…

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