Hundreds, including Jeremy Corbyn, call for unity at Finsbury Park Mosque vigil
PUBLISHED: 11:57 05 December 2015 | UPDATED: 11:57 05 December 2015
Around 300 people gathered outside Finsbury Park Mosque last night, in a vigil against Islamophobia and racism.
It was called in response to last Friday’s attempted arson attack, which is being treated by police as a hate crime.
Speakers included Islington North MP and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, mosque chairman Mohammed Kozbar, Islington Cllrs Andy Hull and Caroline Russell, and Kate Hudson of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Between every speech at the hour-long vigil, men, women and children of different faiths and ethnic groups shouted: “Unity, unity, unity!”
An emotional Mr Kozbar launched the vigil by saying: “We come together, united, to say ‘no’ to racism, ‘no’ to Islamophobia, and to condemn the terrorist attack which happened last week here outside Finsbury Park Mosque.
“To show our solidarity and support to neighbours around the mosque, and to the local community, and to the Muslim community, we tell them: ‘You are not alone.’ We are all united.
“Today we have speakers from all faiths, from all communities. Politicians have come to support us, to stand with us to defeat Islamophobia and the disease of racism.
“I will tell you one story. A few days ago, one of our neighbours, a lady, came in tears with a bunch of flowers, telling us: ‘Please don’t let these criminals win over you. We know the good work you are doing. Keep doing that. Don’t stop. Don’t give up.’”
In a rapturously received speech, Mr Corbyn said: “This attack was designed to divide our community between one faith and another, one ethnic group and another, or one people and another.
“It has failed, it will fail, it will always fail - because we are very proud of our multi-cultural community here in Finsbury Park.”
Orlando Hill, 58, of Somerfield Road, Finsbury Park, is an atheist who attended the vigil. He said: “I think it’s an outrage. Why wouldn’t I come to this when my neighbours are under attack?
“The people at the mosque are good people. I used to teach at Highbury Grove School and some of my students came here. One of this area’s strengths is its cultural diversity and that’s worth making a stand for.”
Jerrycan failed to ignite
Just before 8.30pm last Friday, a man approached the St Thomas’s Road mosque holding a jerrycan full of petrol. He attempted to set it alight before hurling it into the compound.
However, the can failed to fully ignite due to the wet weather and the man fled.
The suspect is described as a white male wearing a white hooded jumper, a white baseball cap and blue jeans. He is believed to have fled on a moped.
Anyone with information is asked to call Islington CID on 0207 421 0262 or by via 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org