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May 23, 2019

Corbyn breaks fast with Muslims on Finsbury Park attack anniversary

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May 23, 2019

LONDON: Jeremy Corbyn broke fast with members of the north London Muslim community to mark two years since the Finsbury Park mosque attack.

The Labour leader promoted a message of unity as he joined the daughter of victim Makram Ali at a community street Iftar meal outside Finsbury Park mosque on Tuesday evening.It marks the 17th day of Ramadan and the second anniversary of the attack, according to the lunar calendar observed in Islam. Ali, 51, was killed when Darren Osborne ploughed a hired van into worshippers gathered outside the Muslim Welfare House shortly after evening Ramadan prayers in June 2017.

He died at the scene while 12 worshippers were injured.Corbyn, who lives nearby, told those gathered over the road from the attack on Tuesday evening that targeting a place of worship was an “attack on all of us”.

The Labour leader added: “I want our children to grow up in a world of diversity of wonder and of beauty, but if they grow up in a world dominated by discrimination and hate, then their lives will be less exciting, their lives will be less imaginative, and above all the collective problems we face cannot be solved.

“Those that divide our community don’t build houses that people need to live in.“Don’t build schools that are children need to learn in. They don’t build hospitals that we all need to be cared in.

“They don’t solve any of those problems, and a world riven with division will not be able to deal with the huge issue that we all face of climate change and the damage we are doing to our natural world.”

After addressing hundreds of worshippers, Corbyn sat on the ground with faith leaders and they ate together just after sunset. He was also joined by Conservative MP Dominic Grieve and Ruzina Akhtar, Ali’s daughter, who addressed the gathering.

She said: “Two years on after the tragic loss of my father, it is still most beautiful to continue to see that the community is able to get together to celebrate events like today. Communities are only able to stand united because we don’t give into these terrorists and racists who set out to divide us.

“We need to continue to show that no matter what the situation we will come out stronger and better than before.” Also present was Abdirahman Ibrahim, 31, who was clipped by the van and tended to Ali and others injured before helping apprehend the driver, Osborne. He was on crutches for nearly three months following the attack after his knee was damaged and has been left with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and hyper vigilance.

Speaking to media for the first time since the attack two years ago, he said: “No matter how much counselling or professionals I go to see regarding my mental health, it’s always going to remain in the back of my mind what happened that day.”

He said of the gathering: “It’s beautiful to see an event like this happening, however what is worrying is security at a place of worship in modern day Britain, it’s like a shame on all of us to see that we need security to the outside of mosques.”

Muslim Aid chief executive Jehangir Malik said the world has been devastated over the past few months “by the range of horrific incidents designed to sow seeds of insecurity, difference and disconnection”.

He said: “The Finsbury Park area has a proud tradition of standing together against division and living well together, and this takes continuing work to maintain. So it’s fantastic to be part of a group of committed people bringing so many together to share a good meal, conversation and community spirit.”Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of Finsbury Park mosque, said he had seen a torrent of Islamophobic incidents over the past few years.

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