Leaders of a mosque in South Shields are calling for people to “stand together” against terrorists trying to divide communities.
The call has been made by the committee of the Al Azhar Mosque in Laygate following the recent attack in Finsbury Park, London just after midnight, yesterday.
In a statement released by committee members from the mosque, where world boxing champ Muhammad Ali once visited during a trip to South Tyneside, they called for people not to “stoop to the level of terrorists and extremists.”
They described terrorism in all its form “a cancer that threatens to destroy the fabric of our society” and asked for both Muslims and non-Muslims to “stand up to this evil.”
They said: “The Committee members of the Al Azhar mosque would like to make their feelings known concerning the latest terrorist attack at Finsbury Park in London. Terrorism is wrong, whatever form it takes and whatever the motivation of the terrorist may be. Terrorism in all its forms is a cancer that threatens to destroy the fabric of our society. Both Muslims and non-Muslims alike need to stand up up to this evil.
“The Qur’an teaches, ‘Not equal are the good deed and the bad deed. Repel evil by that which is better.’ (41:34)
“The highly regarded Islamic scholar Ibn Abbas comments on this verse...’God commands the believers to be patient when they feel angry, to be forbearing when confronted with ignorance, and to forgive when they are mistreated.’
“We must not return like for like, or stoop to the level of terrorists and extremists.
“True Islam is a religion of peace, not bloodshed, and the Al Azhar Mosque is a mosque of peace.”
In light of the recent attack in London, police say while there is nothing to suggest any specific threat in Northumbria, patrols will be stepped up around all places of worship, including mosques.
There will also be increased patrols at prayer time during the final week of Ramadan.
Assistant Chief Constable Helen McMillan said: “It will be concerning for members of the public here in Northumbria but we want to reassure people that there is nothing to suggest there is any specific threat to our communities in Northumbria. Members of the public should not be concerned about the patrols and we would encourage you to approach our officers and speak to them. We are there to protect you and keep you safe.”
Members of the public are asked to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police.