By Sarwar Alam
BRITISH prime minister Theresa May paid tribute to the Al-Manaar Mosque in west London for its efforts in supporting victims of the tragic Grenfell fire last year.
The mosque is a 10-minute walk from Grenfell Tower and it remained open 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the days following the fire on June 14, 2017. It provided food and shelter as well as a place for to grieve for people of all faiths who had been effected by the fire.
Speaking at an Eid party May hosted at Downing Street for prominent members of the Muslim community from around the UK on Monday (18), May revealed she took part in Iftar at the mosque last week to show her appreciation for what they had done.
“Al-Manaar is a beautiful and spacious mosque whose representatives we have here this evening. And I was there to thank them for everything they did following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower. They, with other faith communities, demonstrated extraordinary community spirit helping those in immediate need and organising donations for those who had lost everything.
“What also made the evening special and memorable for me was a simple act of hospitality of sharing a meal the warmth, the generosity, and the patience of everyone there, despite the long hours of fasting, which I can imagine only feels longer during the hours of British summer. It was a great event and I was very pleased to have been able to be there.
“And it’s the kind of hospitality that has been demonstrated many times over this year with people of different backgrounds across the UK sharing in iftars, including in Bristol where I am told 3,000 residents attended one such iftar gathering. It’s an act which represents strong communities in so many parts of the UK in which we can all feel proud of.”
The prime minister greeted her guests at the Eid party with the traditional Islamic saying of Assalamu Alaikum (peace be upon you) and thanked them for ‘the tremendous contribution you make to our country’.
She added: “I know the Eid festival is dear to the hearts of Muslims and it’s a great honour to be able to share with you part of your celebrations here today.”
May spoke about the continued positive work of Britain’s Muslim communities, but acknowledged that hate crimes in places of worship, including in mosques, were on the rise and that’s why her government had committed £3.4 million to protect places of worship.
She said: “We have committed £1 million for vulnerable faith institutions, following the Finsbury park attack last year. There are 40 Muslim places of worship that have had funding approved so far. And what happened in Finsbury park was a sickening terrorist attack, an attack on ordinary people going about their daily life. An attack on a community and an attack on all of us. What we also saw was the spirit of community those who apprehended the attacker the spirit of our thriving, diverse city as people rallied among those who were affected.