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Labour leader joins vigil outside mosque after attempted arson attack

24th Dec 2015

Elham Asaad Buaras

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, joined a vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque on December 4 after an attempted arson attack which saw a petrol bomb hurled over its gates last month.

Corbyn, who is also the MP for Islington North, spoke to a crowd of people at the north London mosque as he condemned the recent Islamophobic crime.

He told them: “Tonight in Finsbury Park we set an example, unity is our strength. This attack is designed to divide our community between one and another – one ethnic group and another – it has failed, it will fail, it will always fail because we are very proud of our multi-cultural community here in Finsbury Park.”

The vigil was organised by faith leaders, members of the Stop the War Coalition and Stand Up to Racism campaigners.

Chair of Finsbury Park Mosque, Mohammed Kozbar, said: “We called the meeting because of the incident last week and the reports from the police that there has been an increase in Islamophobia crimes.

“It is quite frightening. It is an event to show solidarity and support. It is to condemn hate crime. The reaction from the community has been really great. People have sent us flowers. We are victims of the Islamic State’s actions too.”

Hundreds of people, including local councillors, turned out for the event, which also saw speeches from Hornsey & Wood Green MP Catherine West and United Against Fascism Secretary Sabby Dhalu.

Councillor Claudia Webbe tweeted: “I am standing in solidarity with Finsbury Park Mosque in defiance against Islamophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and hate.”

Councillor Caroline Russell said: “So many people here showing solidarity with Finsbury Park Mosque.”

Police are still hunting for a man over the attempted arson attack on November 27.

Detectives believe the petrol bomb’s paper fuse was put out by rain before the makeshift device could explode.

The police are treating the attack as an Islamophobic hate crime.

Kozbar told The Muslim News this is not the first time the mosque has been subject to Islamophobic incidents, “We have received quite few hate letters, emails and even phone calls, some nasty drawings. There has been and increase in such attacks since Paris attack. It is now becoming worse because we started receiving threatening letters which is a concern for us.”

Scotland Yard confirmed the suspect tried to set alight a jerry can filled with petrol before throwing it into the mosque’s grounds.

“We would like to assure our community in Islington that such crime has no place within our society and we are determined more than ever to promote community cohesion and harmony,” said a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police in a statement to The Muslim News.

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