Archives for posts with tag: Birmingham Central Mosque

Though an account of the event has already been covered (link via the Brummie) this account by freelance Emanuel* has a dispassionate charm rarely seen in the dismal Times Online.  

EDL protest overshadowed by tea party at Mosque

Balloons are released during a “best of British” tea party for the public at the Birmingham Central Mosque in response to an English Defence League protest

Emanuel opens: “It was supposed to be a far-right show of strength against Islamist terrorists on the streets of Birmingham. But in the end it was overshadowed by a spot of tea, cake and union jack bunting fluttering in the wind at a local mosque”.

“When the English Defence League is protesting and trying to divide the community, we are holding this party just to prove to them that Birmingham is a multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-faith community,” Muhammed Afzal, Birmingham Central Mosque’s chairman, said on Facebook before the event. And so it proved as Mr Afzal addressed a crowd of more than 100 tea-drinking guests, saying that local people would remain united irrespective of their religion or race.

Emanuel pointed out that the English Defence League (EDL) rally two miles away in Centenary Square, attended by 100 people (other accounts give as far lower number), was outnumbered by this “best of British” tea party at Birmingham’s Central Mosque.

And ended by noting that – because of the low-key nature of the EDL demo – the elected police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands, David Jamieson, was able to attend the tea party.

See: Louis Emanuel on Corbyn, Castro and far more: 






News of this initiative comes from Shafi Chowdhury, a Surrey reader, and the International Business Times, which often records news avoided by the mainstream press.

central mosqueThe minaret and dome of the Birmingham Central Mosque, where about 200 were said to have attended a community event in opposition to Pegida UK:

visit mosque logoThe Muslim Council of Britain reports that thousands of Britons were welcomed into over 80 mosques across the country on Sunday 7 February, as part of the second annual ‘Visit My Mosque’ Day. A small number of mosques will be holding their open days on 13th and 14th February for logistical reasons.

Mosques across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland invited in neighbours to share tea and refreshments, alongside an insight into the day-to-day goings on of a busy Muslim centre of worship.

One individual’s experience may be read here.

Mosques up and down the country also invited local faith leaders and civic and political leaders. Many politicians participated, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP, and other members of Parliament including Bob Blackman, Stella Creasey, Fabian Hamilton, Wes Streeting, James Flanagan and Rupa Huq.

#VisitMyMosque Day was facilitated by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), to provide a platform for Muslims to reach out to fellow Britons and explain their faith and community beyond the hostile headlines . . .

Local mosques also invited inter-faith leaders as well, to come together to demonstrate unity and solidarity, while many visitors were just curious local residents. David from Hendon said, “I’ve driven for many years past London Central Mosque wondering what goes inside, but when I got an email telling me there was an open day, I decided to come today and visit.”

Posting on Facebook, Frances Stanfield said, “Just back from Medina Mosque Southampton. Lovely hosts and some interesting and open conversations.”

Tanvier Ahmed, Outreach Team at Darul Isra Mosque in Cardiff, said, “The majority of mosques have open doors so you can walk in at any time. Today we’re just making that extra special effort by putting on an event, but we welcome visitors throughout the year.”

Dr Salah Beltagui, Muslim Council of Scotland, expressed the hope that such events will see new acquaintances being made between Muslims and their neighbours of other faiths or beliefs, and start relationships and joint work to improve the lives of all communities in future.

For the full text of this message, and a list of mosques that took part, go to:


dr naseem obituary

The writer valued a long association with Dr Naseem (below, second left on the front row) whom she saw as a force for good in the city.

dr naseem faiths council

It began when – like many others – she attended a meeting of concerned people at the Central Mosque, after the 1991 bombing of Iraq. Several kept in touch with Dr Naseem and joined the Citizens’ Association which he founded in 1998. He wrote the Citizens’ Association Manifesto in 1999 (copy on request), but the association was subverted by a political group which only paid lip-service and used its funding. Dr Naseem always believed what people said, until presented with clear evidence of dishonesty. That was a virtue but in a worldly sense, a failing.

Notes from a 2007 interview on WM radio; as usual Dr Naseem spoke his mind without fear of consequences:

Q/ interviewer: Have we a police state? 

A: We are on the road to a police state – in every totalitarian state this is how it started. 

Q: But we have a vote and can get rid of the government 

A: There has been a loss of honour, dignity, freedom and privacy. The EU constitution is based on an old Soviet model.

Section 54 of the Equal Opportunities Bill Section 1 makes it unlawful for a public authority to harass or discriminate but subsection 3 does not apply to the Commons, Lords, Security services and Intelligence agencies.

We have fought two wars to support human values but now fine words are covering ugly realities. What has happened to Habeas Corpus? People are being arrested without court orders. Two elderly ladies were recently arrested for wearing T-shirts which were not praising Mr Blair. We are on the way to a Stalinist-type state; Muslims are mainly affected today but others will be affected tomorrow.

bromsgrove group picture

He was convinced of the need for banking and monetary reform and attended the annual meetings of the Bromsgrove Group from 1997 onwards (above, sixth from right, back row.)

After seeing the seriously damaging effect immediately after a friend’s child received the MMR vaccine from another doctor, he decided not to administer it in future.

dr david kellyIn 2010 Dr Naseem asked for the contact details of David Halpin, a surgeon who – with a group of other doctors – questioned the verdict that Dr David Kelly could have committed suicide in the way officially reported, after ‘blowing the whistle’ on the government dossier on Iraqi weapons. Dr Naseem had, over the years, repeatedly expressed the belief that the medical evidence presented to the public did not support the decision that Dr Kelly committed suicide.

I learnt from Dr Naseem that the Central Mosque makes an effort to welcome both Sunni and Shia Muslims, and Dr Naseem’s hope was that, one day, a Shia imam would be accepted. He also encouraged women to come forward and take a greater part. An introduction service was set up on the mosque premises to enable youngsters to meet prospective partners.

The role of women in Birmingham’s Central Mosque was furthered when it hosted the Birmingham Sharia Council, developed from a Women’s Crisis Centre set up by Dr Wageha Syeda. Dr Naseem also asked Amra Bone to become a member of the council because of her knowledge of Sharia law. He appointed Salma Yaqoob as the only female spokesperson for a British mosque.

In 2001 he wrote The Politics of Service, which may now be seen on this website.

A brief but reasonably balanced sketch of his life and thinking may be seen on Wikipedia.