Grimsby: Muslim leaders stand firm

Grimsby’s Muslim community has pledged to continue worshipping as usual, despite fearing somebody could have been killed during a vicious petrol bomb attack on the town’s mosque.

Three petrol bombs were thrown at the Islamic Cultural Centre on Sunday night as dozens of people – including young children – were leaving after evening.

Bricks had been thrown through the windows of the Weelsby Road building just three days earlier following the murder of solider Lee Rigby in Woolwich, London, on Wednesday.

Yesterday, as almost 300 people took part in a march from Grimsby to Cleethorpes in memory of Drummer Rigby – passing by the mosque – Imam Dr Ahmad M Sabik has pledged that the Muslim community will not be beaten by the attack.

He said: “Somebody could have been seriously injured or even possibly even killed by the petrol bombs. This attack has made us worried about our families and our children who come to the mosque.

“It is a place of love and worship where we teach people to respect one another and it is hard to believe that anybody would try to damage a site like this. We will continue to pray and use the centre as usual because we refuse to be frightened away from our place of worship.”

It is believed that members of the Muslim community have stayed at the premises around the clock since the attacks in a bid to protect it.

Dr Sabik said once the furore surrounding the attacks has disappeared, the Muslim community will invite people into the mosque to help them understand more about the religion.

He added: “We have no option but to invite people to come and visit us and to look around the mosque and to help them to understand what goes on here. It is important that we show the reality of Islam in Grimsby and build bridges with the wider community. We are all hopeful that there are bright days ahead.”

Dr Sabik thanked the mosque’s neighbours and members of the local Inter Faith Zone for the support they have shown since the attacks.

Canon Peter Mullins, team rector of West Grimsby Team Ministry, said local Church of England representatives utterly condemn the actions of those who carried out the attacks.

“I don’t think there will be many of the churches in this area yesterday that were not praying for Lee Rigby and for those who might be unfairly blamed for his death,” he said. “There isn’t a hair’s breadth of difference between seeking to murder an off-duty soldier in the street and seeking to murder those inside a place of worship with a petrol bomb.

“The CofE clergy have had good relations with those seeking to open this mosque and we were shown around together in the days when it was being converted. We have been wishing well any minority group that seeks to find a place here for peaceful worship.”

Two people are currently in police custody for the suspected arson attack, which happened at about 10am on Sunday, while eleven were arrested after the incident on Thursday.

Grimsby Telegraph, 28 May 2013