Statement of Leeds Grand Mosque – 7 July 2006
One year from the terrorist attacks that claimed dozens of lives in London, Leeds Grand Mosque remains united with the Muslim community of Britain in its total and unconditional condemnation of those and any other attacks which target the innocent.
Whilst our stand is unwavering in this regard, it is the lessons that have emerged and the experiences of the past 12 months that ought to be reflected upon so that the memories of the victims are kept and preserved, and that we as a nation may never witness such a tragedy ever again.
Ever since that morning in July, Leeds Grand Mosque has been on a path committed to openness, to making new friends, to promoting that Muslim youth engage with wider society, locally and nationally and that the true and pure face and essence of Islam appears clear and remains untainted by the actions or statements of the fringes.
Numerous activities have taken place within the premises of the mosque and beyond, that have opened many doors of collaboration, cooperation and friendship with others, whom before may have been apprehensive in approaching the Mosque and its community. The Annual Islamic Exhibition for Schools and the interfaith friendship walk were resounding successful events attended by hundreds, while exchanged visits with the local authorities, the police, fire and security authorities and interfaith groups were of immense worth and value to all parties.
Whilst we recognise the need of security authorities to carry out their duties of safeguarding our people, we believe that anti-terror legislation and additional powers offered to the police, as well as the powers to detain Muslims for lengthy periods without trial, without charge and without proper legal representation, only results in more and more youngsters being captured by those who exploit and feed off hopelessness, frustration and desperation. The London attacks targeted Britain and its people - all its people - and unless we face the challenges they pose together and in unity, we stand to fail.
The process of bridge-building is a noble and vital one. However, bridges must be built from both shores simultaneously. It would be wrong to demand of the Muslim community to build the bridge without reciprocal action by the government and the concerned authorities. Once we come to that realisation, the memories of the victims of the London bombings killed in cold blood will be remembered as they should be; with the lessons learnt and potential attempts to divide us foiled.
Leeds Grand Mosque