Mosque leaders in Peterborough act to calm any extremist fears

New Year, New Beginning, New Vision 2015 celebrations at Faizan e Madinah Mosque. Pictured are  Imams  Hafiz Zia, Hafiz Mohammed and Hafiz Mussadaq EMN-150802-185243009

New Year, New Beginning, New Vision 2015 celebrations at Faizan e Madinah Mosque. Pictured are Imams Hafiz Zia, Hafiz Mohammed and Hafiz Mussadaq EMN-150802-185243009

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Civic dignitaries and residents gathered at a mosque in Peterborough at special gathering to quell fears of Islamic extremism.

The event, called New Year, New Beginning, New Vision, was organised by leaders of the five mosques in Peterborough, which represent 15,000 city Muslims.

Guests at the New Year, New Beginning, New Vision 2015 celebrations at Faizan e Madinah Mosque. EMN-150802-184916009

Guests at the New Year, New Beginning, New Vision 2015 celebrations at Faizan e Madinah Mosque. EMN-150802-184916009

It comes in the wake of a spate of atrocities by so-called members of the Syria and Iraq-based Isis and the Al-Qaeda terrorist groups, which claim to follow some form of Islamic teachings.

Mosques chairman Abdul Choudhuri told guests: “The purpose of having such a programme in the mosque rather than a public hall is to expel this myth that mosques and madrassa are to some extent responsible for radicalisation and other terrorist activities.

He said: “It is very important to understand that radicalisation and terrorism has no place whatsoever in Islam and its teaching.

Mr Choudhuri added: “There is so much misunderstanding about Islam and its teaching, some due to lack of knowledge and ignorance and some deliberately.

“The Muslim communities and mosques of Peterborough, led by the Fazan-e-Madinah Mosque, want to be and are at the forefront playing a positive role to tackle such issues and behaviours that are contrary to Islamic teachings.”

The gathering was held at the city’s largest mosque, the Faizan-e-Madinah Mosque in Gladstone Street.

And Mr Choudhuri said the mosque was the focal point for many contacts and meeting with groups from all communities and organisations in Peterborough.

These include the police, Peterborough City Council, churches and schools and many visitors from America, Germany and the Sudan.

He added: “In six months we had 1,780 people visit this mosque.”

Guests included Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire Hugh Duberly, the Mayor of Peterborough Councillor David Over, Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson and the chief executive of Peterborough City Council Gillian Beasley.

Afterwards, Mr Jackson said: “I found it a very useful meeting of minds.

He said: “The need to confront and prevent the minority scourge of extremism and violent jihadist culture with some young people was foremost and in that respect, Peterborough has been very successful.

“But we must work together, families, mosques, politicians and police to ensure that we remain vigilant.”

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