Finsbury Park Mosque: government tried to ‘isolate’ us
PUBLISHED: 17:52 12 January 2016 | UPDATED: 19:00 12 January 2016
Finsbury Park Mosque has made another defiant stand after its latest setback.
Today, it invited the world’s media to a press conference responding to a government review into the Muslim Brotherhood.
Part of the review, released just before the parliamentary Christmas recess, linked the Brotherhood to the Muslim Association of Britain, which partly governs the St Thomas’s Road mosque.
It also mentioned the mosque’s previous links to radical cleric Abu Hamza - now serving a life sentence in the US for supporting terrorism - but not how it has turned a new leaf since he was ejected in 2005.
The review came just weeks after a man tried to blow up the mosque by throwing a jerrycan full of petrol into its compound. However, the can failed to ignite. The suspect is still on the loose.
And in July, the mosque was named on a terrorism blacklist due to its previous links with Hamza.
But speaking today, Mohammed Kozbar, who took over as chairman when Hamza was turfed out, said: “Within one day we managed to bring this mosque to the community and transform it from hostile to cohesive. It’s open to everyone. We are not just a mosque but a community centre.”
Mr Kozbar then listed additional functions the mosque performs, including youth clubs, meals for homeless people, community gatherings and hosting surgeries for Islington North MP and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“This is our agenda: helping people and assisting our community, regardless of their faith or background,” he said.
“Despite all that, we are still subject to hate crime and Islamaphobic attacks.
“And unfortunately, the government in its last report tried to isolate this mosque instead of showing the work we do now. It showed its back to our community instead of encouraging our work.”
The conference, which also featured speeches from the Muslim Association of Britain and Cordoba Foundation, followed the mosque’s rapturously received vigil against Islamaphobia last month. This came in the aftermath of the attempted arson attack, and was attended by Mr Corbyn.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box below for details.