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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Death Threats Received At London Mosque

Death Threats Received At London Mosque

Some 15 emails and letters have been sent which include hand drawn images depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a devil worshipper.
Mohammed Kozar, the general secretary at Finsbury Park Mosque, told Sky News that despite many messages of support, there has been a spike in abuse.
"Most of them are nasty drawings about our prophet and our books," he said.
"Some of them make death threats against our community, so it's quite frightening for our community and our mosque."
In 10 years the new management has reformed the mosque from a hub for extremist ideology to a focal point in the community for interfaith and peaceful worship.
Despite the huge changes, the mosque's work is often overshadowed by its old links with extremist preacher Abu Hamza, who was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month for supporting terrorist organisations.
Two of the three gunmen involved with the Paris attacks have also been linked with a former member of the mosque.
It is alleged that Djamel Beghal, who attended the mosque in the late 1990s went on to mentor Amedy Coulibaly and Cherif Kouachi.
Mr Kozbar said it was frustrating for worshippers to be associated with old extremists.
"It makes me feel very upset and very angry," he said. "People should realise that changes have taken place here from 2005 until now and the community feels it's not fair to always link the mosque in a such negative way to what's happening elsewhere.
"It's not fair for them after the work they've done here; changing it from a hostile atmosphere to a cohesive atmosphere.
"I can't deny or confirm whether this person (Djamel Beghal) had links to the mosque before 2005 but I can confirm it never happened whilst we were here."
Reda Hassaine went undercover at Finsbury Park Mosque in the late 1990s and early 2000s when he worked as an informer for MI5. He says he vividly remembers seeing Beghal at Finsury Park mosque.
"I remember some scenes where he was sitting on the flour with four, five, six people around him sat in front of a television showing videos of massacres of people in Algeria," he said.
The mosque is now the only one in the country to have received the charity commission-endorsed Visible Quality Award for its work in the community.
But there are fears it is not just Finsbury Park mosque that is experiencing an increase in abuse since Paris attacks.
Fiyaz Mughal, director of Islamophobia watchdog Tell MAMA, says there has been an overall increase in reports of abuse.
"There is a vast amount of online hate around but we've also had street-based incidents reported to us, particularly from mosques.
"We're also having members of the public - particularly visible Muslim women - who are unfortunately coming back to us saying people are saying things to them again around the Charlie Hebdo affair; saying things like 'I'm Charlie - you are not.'
"We've received information from umbrella bodies that work with Muslim charities. They have sent us information around leaflets that have been sent and, again, hate mail that has been sent to Muslim charities.
"So faith institutions as well as Muslim charities are the ones receiving some form of hate mail at the time."

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