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New Zealand terror attack: Give mosques more funds for security, say Redbridge Muslim leaders

PUBLISHED: 17:07 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:13 18 March 2019

Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Redbridge Muslim leaders are backing calls to increase funding for mosque security amid fears the New Zealand shooting could spark copycat terror attacks in the UK.

Ilford's Eton Road Mosque chairman Bashir Chaudhry and Muslim Council of Britain general secretary Harun Khan.Ilford's Eton Road Mosque chairman Bashir Chaudhry and Muslim Council of Britain general secretary Harun Khan.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has written to the prime minister on Monday, March 18, to highlight the “palpable sense of fear” among Muslim communities in the UK after 50 worshippers were shot dead at two Christchurch mosques on Friday, March 15.

“Open seven days a week, especially on Fridays, mosques across the UK are places servicing well-attended congregations,” wrote MCB general security and Wanstead resident Harun Khan in his letter.

“This makes the risk of copycat attacks here in the UK a real possibility, especially in a climate where we are now fully appreciating the growth in the far right.”

In the letter, the MCB commended the government in boosting funding for Jewish institutions to £25k on average, across 400 synagogues and 150 Jewish schools, in the wake of a rise in antisemitic attacks.

But it asks for “equivalent support” for Muslim communities - where funding works out to less than £500 on average per institution.

This comes despite Muslims being the target of the majority, 52pc, of reported religiously-based hate crime, according to the MCB.

Chairman of Ilford’s Eton Road Mosque Bashir Chaudhry backed the MCB’s demands.

“I one hundred per cent support the call for greater funding,” he said. “We did apply for security funding last year but unfortunately were unsuccessful.”

He said that current levels of funding offer limited protection to the seven-day-a-week mosque and school.

“The government should also set up a task force to deal with hate crime.

“Now, with social media, these people are operating on an international level.

“What happened in New Zealand can happen in this country – it is a very alarming situation.

“We need to tackle this right wing resurgence.”

Islamophobia monitoring group Tell MAMA is offering security advice to mosques over the next six months.

This includes providing basic security advice and information, reviewing of security measures for mosques and accessibility assessments. Director Iman Atta said: “No longer can mosques just assume that everything will be all right.

“There has been an assumption that nothing will happen, but there are sharpened risks to Islamic institutions and mosques.

“We, through Tell MAMA, will support these mosques at this time.”

Contact it by phone on 0800 456 1226; Whatsapp on 0734 184 6086; emailing info@tellmamauk.org; or texting 0115 707 00 07

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