York Mosque Praised For Countering Hate With Tea
Around six protestors turned up to protest at the mosque in Bull Lane, York, but were invited inside to play football with worshippers, who had gone there after learning of the planned EDL protest in the wake of the Woolwich attack that shook Britain recently.
Professor Mohamed El-Gomati, who is an elder at the mosque, told the York Press that EDL members threatened to hold a demonstration outside the mosque, angry at the Muslims worshipping there and connecting the death of Lee Rigby with the faith of Islam rather than the two extremists.
Imam Abid Salik said: “We did have a few people who did come to protest but when they came some of the members of the mosque went over and they engaged in a conversation.
“Some people went over with cups of tea and biscuits, they were talking for about 30 or 40 minutes and then they came inside, which was a really, really beautiful thing.”
Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said the mosque’s response was “fantastic”.
He said: “Tea, biscuits, and football are a great and typically Yorkshire combination when it comes to disarming hostile and extremist views.”
Hull Road ward councillor Neil Barnes added that it had been a “proud moment for York”.
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget the day that the York Mosque tackled anger and hatred with peace and warmth,” he said. “And I won’t forget the sight of a Muslim offering a protester tea and biscuits with absolute sincerity.”
Fears over a demonstration grew after a Yorkshire EDL Division posted a message online calling for supporters to gather outside the mosque.
Ever since the brutal killing of an ex-soldier in Woolwich took place on the 22nd of May, the EDL has been accused of stirring up tension between communities and anti-Muslim hate crimes have been high in the UK.
Notably, government-backed helpline Tell MAMA has seen an almost ten-fold spike in anti-Muslim attacks since the atrocity in Woolwich took place, with almost 200 reports received in just five days.