Search

Finsbury Park mosque in ‘new era’ following ‘hostile’ Abu Hamza days

12:43 05 June 2014

The Finsbury Park Mosque

The Finsbury Park Mosque

Archant

Mosque received hate mail following radical cleric’s conviction for terrorist charges

Mohammed Kozbar, manager of Finsbury Park MosqueMohammed Kozbar, manager of Finsbury Park Mosque

Despite being free of radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza for more than a decade, Finsbury Park mosque still suffers from its former association.

Following Hamza’s conviction on 11 terrorism charges in the US last month the mosque in St Thomas’s Road received hate mail, one of several instances over the past few years.

But this doesn’t worry Mohammed Kozbar, manager of the formerly named North London Central Mosque, who has helped transform a “hostile” environment for extremism into a thriving limb of the community.

“There are no problems, we still suffer from some extremist far right groups sending us nasty letters – one day they put a pig’s head outside our door,” said Mr Kozbar.

“But we know these people are in a very small minority and we will not allow that to affect us. Our response will be to engage more in the community.

“Back then the atmosphere was not a healthy one, it was hostile to the community.”

Since 2005, the mosque has become a place for everyone in the area, as well as attracting a much wider Muslim audience.

The building is often used by Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn for his surgeries, local councillors, as well as to hold the Islington Faith Forum.

Mr Kozbar said: “We have a new era since 2005, an era of community connection, building bridges, better relationships – this is the area we’ve been focused on.

“We’re mainly focused on our youth, these people are the future. We have to give them the right attention by engaging them within the community – creating an atmosphere away from the gangs, crime and extremism.

“Before 2005, only 50 people came to Friday prayers, now we have 2,000 people turning up.

“This gives you an idea of the change in the Muslim community.”

Despite the work being done by the mosque in the Finsbury Park area, Holloway was twice linked to young extremists involved in the Syria conflict earlier this year.

Mr Kozbar is focused on teaching the community’s youth different ways to channel their fears and frustrations for those suffering in the east.

“We are telling the youth not to go and fight there, this is wrong and very dangerous. You have to help in the right way by raising money for charities that are helping,” he said.

“We have great sympathy for the Syrian people and the people who are suffering, but going over there to fight is a big mistake. We are educating our people, Syria do not need fighters, they need the right kind of help.”

On Sunday, June 22, the mosque will hold its annual open day, with councillors, MPs, police and Arsenal Football Club representatives in attendance.

“Last year, we had more than 500 people come to our open day, we showed them music, henna, calligraphy,” said Mr Kozbar.

“This year we want as many people to come as possible. We want to see our neighbours and all the local schools there.”

The open day runs from 12noon to 6pm at the mosque in St Thomas’s Road. For more information call 020 7424 5252 or e-mail info@finsburyparkmosque.org

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 14:20
Sam Parrington of the Pilion Trust at the exhibition in Caledonian Road on Wednesday. Picture: Andy Commons (andycommonsimages.com)

It isn’t just older people who fall on hard times. James Morris finds out about the sad reality of homeless young people in the capital – and how charities like The Pilion Trust and Project One Zero are working in Islington to give them a creative outlet.

Yesterday, 10:09
Cricket fan: David Pearce (Picture: Ken Mears)

A wheelchair-bound Canonbury pensioner must fork out £450 for a season of matches he cannot attend – or face exclusion from the elite cricket club that runs Lord’s.

Thu, 16:26
Protesters release balloons outside HMP Holloway yesterday (Picture: Jade Jackman)

More than two hundred people lit flares and released balloons outside Holloway Prison in protest against violence towards women in government institutions.

Thu, 11:02
Caledonian ward councillors are calling for HGVs to stop using Copenhagen Street as a shortcut. Picture: Cally Labour

Cement mixing company Cemex has instructed its drivers to comply with the HGV ban in Copenhagen Street, near King’s Cross.

Thu, 08:59
Islington NUT members at a previous demonstration against the academisation plans. Picture: Ken Muller

Islington NUT is holding a public meeting as part of a campaign to defeat the government’s plans for all schools to become academies by 2022.

Wed, 15:51
Islington Boat Club 'Upperdeckers'. Picture: Amanda Corcoran

Islington Boat Club has launched free weekly sessions for over-50s.

Wed, 12:00
Teacher Daire Fitzharris is climbing Mount Everest next year and is preparing by camping on the Brecknock school roof every night this week. Picture: Ken Mears

A good teacher leads by example. Daire Fitzharris, a Year 2 tutor at Brecknock Primary School, realised this as he sought to introduce his pupils to the wonders of camping. So rather than just stand at the front of the class talking about it, he has set them an example – by sleeping on the school’s roof every night this week.

Wed, 09:48
Year nine students from Deptford Green School travelled to Highbury Grove School to understand a different perspective of London. Picture: London Football Journeys

Students from Highbury Grove School met their south London counterparts in a soccer scheme to build bridges between youngsters from different areas of London.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe