Finsbury Park first mosque to win prestigious national award
PUBLISHED: 12:34 06 November 2014 | UPDATED: 17:15 07 November 2014
TONY GAY at firstname.lastname@example.org
A mosque in Finsbury Park has become the first Muslim place of worship in the UK to be handed a prestigious award.
Finsbury Park Mosque (FPM), in St Thomas’s Road, has been given a Visible Quality Mark by national body Community Matters – only the third time the award has gone to a faith organisation.
It marks an exceptional turn around for the mosque; when the current owners took over it was best known as a hive of extremism where radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza had preached for more than a decade.
Mohammed Kozbar, chair of FPM, said: “It is great to achieve the Visible communities award after almost two years of hard work, we are proud to be the first mosque and the third faith organisation in the UK to achieve this award, it gave us the confidence to improve the standard of operation and accountability of our organisation”.
FPM, a registered charity, now attracts up to 2,000 worshippers, as well as hosting community events including youth and welfare services, IT courses and surgeries for councillors and Members of Parliament.
Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, said: “Congratulations to the staff at FPM.
“Your hard work and good results that are so valuable within our community deserve this wider recognition.
“It can be tough for charities in this climate, yet despite that you have been able to demonstrate high standards in all areas across your organisation.
“This endorsed standards award can give the public confidence that this charity is well run and give any funders assurance about how their money is being spent.”
Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, added: “FPM is a key part of the Islington community and an important local centre.
“We’re very pleased the mosque has won this quality mark, which highlights the mosque’s good work and high standards.”
The mosque most recently hit the headlines when hundreds of worshippers demonstrated outside a nearby branch of HSBC - the bank had closed FPM’s account without giving a good reason, according to Mr Kozbar.