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Islington unites against ‘weird’ hate crime at Finsbury Park Mosque

PUBLISHED: 08:32 30 November 2016 | UPDATED: 08:41 30 November 2016

Rev Jennifer Potter, chair of Islington Faiths Forum, speaks at the Islington Together Against Hate Crime meeting in Finsbury Park Mosque last night. Picture: Polly Hancock

Rev Jennifer Potter, chair of Islington Faiths Forum, speaks at the Islington Together Against Hate Crime meeting in Finsbury Park Mosque last night. Picture: Polly Hancock

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The chair of Islington Faiths Forum has called on people to “get outside their comfort zone” to fight hate crime in the borough.

Rabbi Mendy Korer speaks at the Islington Together Against Hate Crime meeting in Finsbury Park Mosque last night. Picture: Polly HancockRabbi Mendy Korer speaks at the Islington Together Against Hate Crime meeting in Finsbury Park Mosque last night. Picture: Polly Hancock

There was standing room only at an “Islington Together Against Hate Crime” meeting in Finsbury Park Mosque last night.

Police told 200 people that hate crimes are still being reported at a higher rate than before the EU referendum.

The meeting, featuring speakers across different faiths and walks of life, was called a year since a man - who remains at large - tried to blow up the mosque in an arson attack.

And Rev Jennifer Potter, chair of the faiths forum, told people to think beyond their usual circles. She said: “We need to be ready to support people at the point hate crime is committed, whether in a park or on a bus, and helping people by accompanying them to the police - if that’s the right thing to do.

“For some of us, that means being out of our comfort zone. If we are honest, we like to be with people who look like us, think like us and dress like us. We have to go beyond that.”

Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the Islington Together Against Hate Crime meeting in Finsbury Park Mosque last night. Picture: Polly HancockJeremy Corbyn speaks at the Islington Together Against Hate Crime meeting in Finsbury Park Mosque last night. Picture: Polly Hancock

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn said attacking minority groups was “weird”, adding: “If a community has a shortage of housing, as this area does; a shortage of school places, as some areas do; and pressure on health services, you could decide to blame a minority and build up the most vile atmosphere.

“But that doesn’t build houses or get more teachers and doctors on board. You haven’t solved anything.”

Speaking after the meeting, mosque chairman Mohammed Kozbar told the Gazette: “It’s unfortunate the arson attacker is still at large. The police did whatever they could, but couldn’t get to the bottom of it.

“They need to do more to stop hate crime, and they realise that.”

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