Leaders at a Mansfield mosque have spoken out following recent terror attacks – saying that the town’s Islamic community has been left feeling ‘vulnerable’.
Runu Ahad, 44, secretary of Mansfield Jamee Masjid in Goodacre Street, said Muslims in the town fear a backlash following the Manchester bombing and the murders at Borough Market, committed by extremists.
He spoke out following the terrorist attack which happened in the early hours of Monday, June 19, which targeted Muslims, and saw a van mow down pedestrians near Finsbury Park Mosque, in north London.
The attack left one man dead and ten injured.
He said: “In a way we knew something would happen.
“People are a lot more cautious, some don’t come to the mosque at night because they feel vulnerable walking through town.
“Everyone knew and was fearing that there would be a backlash. No one can tell where an attack is going to happen.
“We shouldn’t be punished for some minority fraction.
“We as Muslims all over the UK condemn the actions of terrorists.”
“In the past we have had offensive graffiti and arson at the rear of the Masjid. It makes us feel vulnerable.
“There are a lot of things on social media that causes fear.
“We don’t put shutters on the mosque, we invite primary schools in to learn. It’s a place of worship, people can come and observe us pray.
“We need to do more outreach work, but its a two way street.
“As a minority we need to be giving transparency to the public but if people are not prepared to sit side by side there is not much we can do.
“We are the same as you, we have jobs and are integrated into Mansfield, I’ve lived in Mansfield since I was a child, this is my home.
“Diversity is growing here, people need to accept that we have different cultures but we but are people like them.”
Earlier this month thugs smashed windows and daubed racist graffiti on the Phone Corner repair centre on Market Place – mistakenly thinking it was owned by Muslims.
Mr Ahad said there has been no increase in attacks at the mosque, which has been the target for hate crimes in the past.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping has also announced additional protection for Muslims in Nottinghamshire is to be ‘increased’ and ‘strenghened’ during Ramadan in light of the Finsbury Park attack.
Speaking shortly after the incident, he said: “I’m very concerned about the overnight attack at Finsbury Park.
“In Nottinghamshire there are longstanding discussions with mosque leaders regarding increased protection during Ramadan.
“In light of last night’s attack that protection has been strengthened and increased.
“It’s only by working together and treating everyone with respect that we can keep our streets safe and secure.”