Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, speaks during his visit to the Nigerian mosque in London on May 3
(Photo: Ahmed J Versi/Muslim News)
By Ahmed J Versi
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said during his visit to the Nigerian mosque on Old Kent Road, in south London on May 3, that without Islam and contributions from Muslims, European Renaissance would not have taken place.
He reminded the members of the Mosque that Islam is “a religion of peace” and has “contributed hugely to our civilisation. Our culture has benefitted from the influence of great Muslim scholars. I would not have been able to study Aristotle, as I did at the university, I would not have had the benefit of Greek and Latin learning if it wasn’t for Medieval Muslim learning.”
Boris added that he wants Londoners “to know huge contributions that Islam has made to our society” and said “this mosque is a great way of getting that message across.”
The Muslim News asked Boris whether he would tell Education Secretary, Michael Gove, to include the influence of Islamic civilisation on European Renaissance in the National Curriculum in helping “getting that message across”. Boris replied he was meeting Gove soon and take up the issue with him.
“I strongly support what you are doing in this mosque, the mentoring, the education, giving kids hope, boundary and aspiration,” Boris told the congregation.
President of Old Kent Road Islamic and Cultural Centre, Mudathir Yussuff, welcoming the Mayor, thanked him for fulfilling the pledge he had given during Mayoral elections last year. “Thank you for living up to your words,” he said.
The reason why he visited this mosque was because he wanted to fulfil one of the promises made before the Mayoral elections that the first mosque he would visit would be the Nigerian mosque.
Boris acknowledged that the Government cuts are affecting the ethnic minorities the most.
One of the questions posed to him is how he will help unemployed in the community, both the young and the old. He replied the “best way to get them back to work is getting them on apprenticeship programme by getting businesses to take them on.” He added that in London, “we have 70% of the work force in jobs but we have too many young people, 16 to 24-year olds out of work and they need help.”
The Nigerians complained to the Mayor that they are neglected when his office targets BMEs. When ‘Africans’ are mentioned they usually mean African Caribbean. “We are invisible to them,” said a spokesman.