Edinburgh Muslim community: We want people to understand us

Lord Provost Frank Ross speaks at Polworth Mosque. Picture: Greg Macvean
Lord Provost Frank Ross speaks at Polworth Mosque. Picture: Greg Macvean

MUSLIM leaders at a city mosque are calling for the community to “come together” in the wake of recent terror attacks.

Over 100 worshippers gathered at the Polwarth Mosque on Temple Park Crescent to meet the Lord Provost yesterday and express how keen they were to work with other faiths in a bid to make the community stronger.

Many said they have been left feeling “inferior” after the suspected terror attack outside a mosque in Finsbury Park, London, last month but were determined to continue as normal.

Hafiz Abdul Hamid, founder and trustee at the mosque, said the congregation felt there were often misconceptions about their religion.

He said: “There are a lot of misconceptions about Islam and there are many negative things said in the press about Muslims. There is a lack of understanding about our religion and it is important that we communicate that.

“It is important that our community understands each other so that is why we have invited the Lord Provost here.”

He added: “Following the recent attacks, the police have been great with us. It’s a shame that a small minority of people can ruin it for everyone else.”

Imtiaz Ahmed, 56, from Merchiston, attends the Polwarth Mosque regularly and said knowing the Lord Provost was there to help gave them “peace of mind”.

He said: “Having the Lord Provost here is good for our peace of mind and gives us reassurance. What has happened recently just isn’t fair. We just want people to understand us.”

City Lord Provost Frank Ross spent the afternoon talking to the worshippers as well as being given a tour of the mosque and observing prayers.

Mohammed Aslam, 54, from Marchmont, has been attending the mosque since 1986.

He said: “We have been lucky in Scotland so far that nothing has happened. What happened in London has made us feel very inferior but the police have been 
reassuring.

“Nobody should be making us feel like that. We just want the community to come together.”

On June 19, a van was driven into pedestrians in Finsbury Park and injured at least eight people. The incident occurred just 100 yards from Finsbury Park Mosque and is being investigated as a terror attack. It followed the Manchester and Borough Market terror just weeks before.

Frank Ross said: “My understanding here is that there is some concern following the incidents in Manchester and London. I’m here to reiterate the council’s commitment to inclusive communities and get an understanding of what their concerns are.

“The 2050 vision project is now coming under our offices and part of the wider programme that I’m looking to do as Lord Provost is to reach out to all faith groups.

“I’m going to use the interfaith organisation to try and bring everyone together so that we have all the faith groups talking about how they want to see their city look in the future.”

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk