Gazette letters: Finsbury Park attack, Rydon Group, clean air, Brexit and Joseph Pullen-Coles

The goup on the steps of Islington Town Hall. Picture: ISLINGTON COUNCIL

The goup on the steps of Islington Town Hall. Picture: ISLINGTON COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Some 180 people attended a minute’s silence for the victims of last week’s attack outside the Muslim Welfare House on Monday.

Among them were Toufik Kacimi, the chief executive of Muslim Welfare House, Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque, Simon Harvey, vicar of St Mary’s in Upper Street, mayor of Islington Cllr Una O’Halloran, council leader Richard Watts and council chief exec Lesley Seary. Cllr Watts said outside the town hall:

These people have failed.

They have underestimated Islington and underestimated London.

Our response to those who would drive us apart is to come closer together.

Our community will be brought together.

I spent a lot of my childhood standing outside mosques, writes Benali Hamdache, Islington Green Party.

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After Friday prayers my father would chat to a seemingly endless trail of friends, distant relatives and well wishers. My ropey Arabic would be tested to its extremes. Children would dart around shouting and playing.

Outside the mosque was as much of a community space as inside. It was the welcoming entrance to a community that supported and cherished each other.

The attack on Finsbury Park is a vile and despicable one. But the community is bigger and more robust that one extremist’s violence. His senseless attack will not divide us.

The outpouring of support for Finsbury Park Mosque this week was incredible. I’m proud to live in Islington and this week after Eid prayers we’ll stand and chat outside our mosque, as usual.

By a strange coincidence, on the day you printed Meg Howarth’s letter about Rydon Group of Grenfell Tower fame looking after 6,600 Islington Council freehold street-properties, I was poodling around the borough looking at some, writes Fred Sturge, Strokehouse Yard, Clerkenwell.

There was a lot of scaffolding put up but no building words in evidence.

Then I thought I’d take a look at the council’s old Packington Estate [sold to Hyde Group in 2007 – ed] and do you know who’s pulling it down? Why, Rydon again! They’re going to replace it with a lot of nice luxury flats.

I wonder what Jeremy Corbyn has to say about that!

I hesitate to accuse Cllr Claudia Webbe of crass hypocrisy, but have no choice after reading your article about her involvement in the first National Clean Air Day (read article here), writes Tim Sayer MBE, Battledean Road, Highbury.

As you point out, Cllr Webbe is routinely criticised for her support of the use of barbecues on Highbury Fields – and yet she admits that “air pollution can have serious health implications”.

She mentions new council initiatives – I would ask her to make banning BBQs on the fields one of them.

Brexit is causing much uproar between the political parties, writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

It’s a massive distraction for our overstretched MPs. And it cannot be good for how the country is perceived politically from abroad and Europe.

Would it not be best to create a “fixed Brexit team” that is trusted to get the task completed irrespective of what happens nationally between red or blue?

It would stop all the distractions and politicians could concentrate on the domestic issues like race-hate, terrorism and housing.

Seventeen-year-old Joseph Pullen-Coles has decided in these horrendous times in our country that he can make a difference by “being the change he wants to see in the world” writes Cheryl Coles via e-mail.

He has so far raised just over £300 of his £500 target for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and he would love the Islington Gazette to support him by sharing his secure JustGiving link.

Visit if you’d like to support Joseph’s charity effort.