Islington's 'peaceful community' unites for Finsbury Park Mosque street iftar
PUBLISHED: 10:45 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:14 19 June 2019
People of all faiths and none coalesced as one Islington to break fast with the borough's Muslim community in the streets of Finsbury Park last night.
The annual Finsbury Park Mosque street iftar, within the month of Ramadan, invited everyone for a free meal in St Thomas's Road to build community cohesion - and some 2,000 people turned up.
It was also the 17 day of Ramadan, and so marked the second anniversary of the terrorist attack where a right-wing fanatic ploughed his van into worshipers outside Muslim Welfare House, in Seven Sister Road, killing 51-year-old Makram Ali.
Finsbury Park Mosque chairman Mohammed Kozbar told the Gazette: "It went very well and a lot of people from different communities and a number of faiths or none shared a lovely day.
"It's about bringing people together, about community cohesion, understanding, inclusion and celebrating our diversity.
"London is a multicultural city in which we are proud to be Londoners - it proves that everybody is welcome, especially in Islington.
"Islington is a peaceful community where we have been living in harmony for a long time - and yesterday proved that."
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Tory attorney general Dominic Grieve ate alongside each other in a show of solidarity at the event, where Mr Ali's daughter, Ruzina Akhtar addressed the crowd.
She said: "Two years on after the tragic loss of my father, it is still beautiful to see the community is able to get together to celebrate.
"Communities are only able to stand united because we don't give into these terrorists and racists who set out to divide us."
The Islington North MP added: "I want our children to grow up in a world of diversity of wonder and of beauty, but if they grow up in a world dominated by discrimination and hate, then their lives will be less exciting, their lives will be less imaginative, and above all the collective problems we face cannot be solved.
"Those that divide our community don't build houses that people need to live in.
"Don't build schools that are children need to learn in.
"They don't build hospitals that we all need to be cared in.
"They don't solve any of those problems, and a world riven with division will not be able to deal with the huge issue that we all face of climate change and the damage we are doing to our natural world."
Additional reporting by Press Association