New Zealand attack

WOKING Football Club will be holding a minute’s silence before Saturday’s home game against Slough.

“We will be remembering the 50 people massacred while praying at the Al-Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand,” said the club’s chaplain Ian Nicholson.

“As home to the country’s first mosque and recognising the large Muslim communities in both Slough and Woking there will now be a minute’s silence to remember those bereaved, and also to think of all victims of terrorism at this turbulent time.”

A prayer and peace vigil for the victims and families of the New Zealand shootings is being held at the Shah Jahan Mosque on Saturday 23 March, starting at 2pm. All members of the community are invited to attend, to show solidarity and unity against such terror attacks.

WOKING is an example to the rest of the country of interfaith understanding and the integration of Islam in the community, the Minister for Faith has said.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth was speaking during a tour of the Shah Jahan Mosque three days after 50 people were shot dead at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Minister for Faith Lord Bourne, left, speaking with Head Imam Hafiz Hashmi, middle, and his wife Kauser Akhtar

The visit had been planned months before the tragedy and is part of a tour by the minister to places of worship around the country to promote interfaith understanding.

“As long as I live, I won’t understand what prompts somebody to do what happened in Christchurch. It has been condemned by people around the globe, and rightly so,” he said. “We must ask what we can do to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen.”

He was shown around the first purpose-built mosque in Britain by Hafiz Hashmi, the Head Iman, and his wife Kauser Akhtar, who is chairwoman of the South East England Faiths Forum and faith links adviser for Surrey Faith Links, run by the Diocese of Guildford.

Lord Bourne said the strong interfaith links in Woking “is where we want everybody to be”, paying tribute to the leadership of the Imam and Kauser, describing it as “very powerful in the world in which we are living”.

They told the minister about the mosque’s involvement in the community, from the annual Armistice Day parade in Woking Town Centre and helping the homeless, as well as working with people of all faiths and hosting regular visits from schools. They also explained that, along with formal open days at the mosque, it is open for anyone to visit and the Imam is available to answer questions about Islam.

“These are things that are very close to the government’s heart,” said Lord Bourne. “We want to demystify religion. A lot of Christians are wary of mosques, but not so much as they used to be. People are more familiar with their local mosques because of examples of things such as that happening in Woking.”

“We should be shouting about what is happening in Woking,” said Lord Bourne. “It should be happening elsewhere.”

A prayer and peace vigil for the victims and families of the New Zealand shootings is being held at the Shah Jahan Mosque on Saturday 23 March, starting at 2pm. All members of the community are invited to attend, to show solidarity and unity against such terror attacks.

For the full story get the 21 March edition of the News & Mail

SURREY Police are increasing reassurance patrols around Woking’s mosque following the terrorist attack in New Zealand.

Neighbourhood officers are visiting the Shah Jahan Mosque as well as mosques in Camberley, Reigate and Redhill, and will be providing reassurance and advice to communities.

The Shah Jahan Mosque will see extra police patrols after anti-Islamic terrorist attack in New Zealand

Chief Superintendent Neil Honnor, Head of the Surrey and Sussex Joint Operations Command said: “We stand together with our Muslim communities and all those shocked and horrified by this terrorist attack in New Zealand.

“Today in Surrey and Sussex we are stepping up reassurance patrols around mosques and increasing engagement with communities of all faiths, giving advice on how people and places can protect themselves.

“Places of worship can also use our online training package ‘ACT Awareness eLearning’ for advice on Protective Security and how to react should the worst happen. It can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/act-awareness-elearning.

“We also encourage everyone to be aware of our Run, Hide, Tell advice.

“We take all forms of extremism seriously and anyone with concerns about someone becoming radicalised can get advice and support through the PREVENT programme at www.TLAI.info.”

“We advise the public to remain vigilant. If you see or hear something suspicious, trust your instincts and ACT. Report it to police in confidence via gov.uk/ACT and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity to police, in confidence via gov.uk/ACT or 0800 789 321. In an emergency the public should always call 999. If you get caught up in the event of a weapons attack we urge you to follow the Run, Hide, Tell advice.”

For more on this story see the 21 March edition on the News & Mail